iPhone 6 to include relocated sleep/wake button and larger, higher resolution display


Last night, KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo sent out a monster research note to investors with a timeline of when he thinks Apple will release their new products this year. He also offered details on each product, which he’s learned from his supply chain connections and other sources.

We’ve already covered Kuo’s iWatch predictions, which called for a “fashionable” smartwatch with advanced features like biometric sensors and wireless charging, and now it’s time to look at his iPhone forecasts. The analyst sees two Apple-branded smartphones launching this year…

Again, Kuo agrees with previous speculation that Apple is building two different handsets: a 4.7-inch and a 5.5-inch model. They’ll have the same internals though—just like the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display—including an A8 processor, 1GB of RAM, and of course Touch ID.

Display-wise, the analyst believes the 4.7-inch model will feature a 1334×740 Retina display (326 ppi) and the 5.5-inch a 1920×1080 display (401 ppi). Admittedly, the resolutions are odd, but it looks like both panels have the same aspect ratio as the iPhone 5—meaning no need to redesign apps.

iPhone 6 concept via MacRumors

As for appearance, Kuo expects both phones to have slimmer bezels around the screen (10-20% narrower) and thinner profiles of just 6.5-7.0mm. He also thinks that Apple will move the iPhone’s sleep/wake button from the top to the side, in an effort to make the larger devices easier to operate.

Finally, Kuo calls for an NFC chip in both smartphones—a technology that Apple has thus far avoided in its mobile products. Keep in mind, though, that the company has filed severalNFC-related patents over the years, and is believed to have pulled NFC chips from the iPhone 5 at the last minute.

The 4.7-inch iPhone is expected to go into production as early as May, ahead of a likely September launch, while the 5.5-inch model is believed to be slated for a later Q4 debut. Kuo sees Apple ending production on the iPhone 4 and 4s, with the 5s and 5c rounding out Apple’s smartphone lineup.

It’s worth noting again that all of this intel came from an analyst report, and despite his track record, nothing is certain.

Foxconn starts hiring assembly-line workers for Apple’s next iPhone production

iphone 5 productionHon Hai Precision Industry aka Foxconn, which assembles iPhones and iPads for Apple and many other products on behalf of other vendors, has started hiring workers in preparation for Apple’s next iPhone, Bloomberg reported Monday.

A person familiar with the matter tells the publication that the world’s largest contract manufacturer has been recruiting workers for the past month at its plant in Zhengzhou, eastern China.

The report comes after a number of news organizations reported that Foxconn back in February imposed arecruitment freeze across almost all of its factories in China amid slowing iPhone production…

According to Bloomberg:

Foxconn recommenced hiring at Zhengzhou a month ago, with the facility currently employing about 250,000 to 300,000 people, Liu Kun, a spokesman for the Taipei-based company, said by phone today without saying how many employees were added. He declined to comment on products or clients.

The Wall Street Journal corroborated the Bloomberg report, adding Monday that aFoxconn has hired 10,000 workers a week since the end of March.

“We have been very busy recently as we will start mass-producing the new iPhone soon,” said a Zhengzhou-based executive who has direct knowledge of production plans.

Both reports point to Apple gearing up for production of the new iPhone, with the Journal expecting the the iPhone 5S production to begin in the second quarter of the year, possibly alongside a rumored budget model of the handset meant at improving Apple’s market standing in emerging markets.

Apple’s iPhone 5S to launch June 20, go on sale July 2013

A confidential presentation that describes a Shenzhen-based manufacturer’s 2013 product plans points to a few interesting bits of information about the iPhone 5S launch in June 2013 and Foxconn’s role as manufacturer of record for Apple products.

The presentation catalog, which details new cases and chargers for iPhone devices as well as Qi-enabled wireless chargers and dongles for the iPhone 5, points to a firm June 2013 launch of what they are calling the iPhone 5S. Leaks like this are obviously par for the course when it comes to Shenzhen manufacturers – they usually follow the same rumors we do – but this manufacturer has an interesting inside track to Foxconn, promising “synchronization” with the Apple release in June.

The company also boasts complete Apple certification and is working with Foxconn directly to launch product immediately upon the launch of the new devices. This sort of leak – a launch date, direct contact to a certified manufacturer, and mention of direct cooperation with Foxconn – is fairly unique in the world of Apple news.

This information could be a bit of careless boasting but it does suggest a certain level of certainty in the market and reinforces rumors of a June iPhone 5S release. It also suggests a certain lack of fear in manufacturers as they approach a new, post-Steve Jobs Apple. Whether the information is accurate is impossible to tell – yet. However, it is some of the most convincing data we’ve seen relating to new Apple launches.

Foxconn CEO says the iPhone 5 will put Samsung’s Galaxy S III to shame!

So this is rather interesting: Apparently Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou has been sharing some of his famous words of wisdom lately, advising consumers to wait a bit before making their next smartphone purchase.

Speaking at the company’s annual shareholders meeting, Gou told investors to hold off on buying the new Samsung Galaxy S III, claiming that Apple’s next smartphone would put the handset to shame…

The China Times reports:

“Gou also urged consumers to wait for the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5, saying that the new model would put Samsung’s Galaxy III to shame.

With Hon Hai’s marketing and manufacturing strengths and Sharp’s key technologies, the two will be able to defeat their arch-rival Samsung, the chairman said.”

That’s a pretty confident statement, to say that a device — which isn’t expected to be announced for several months — is already better than one that reportedly pre-sold more than 9 million units.

What’s Gou thinking? Perhaps he’s being a corporate cheerleader — Apple is one of Foxconn’s largest partners. Or maybe the CEO has already seen the next iPhone, and is simply speaking the truth.

Whatever his reasoning, we have to agree that folks in the market for a new smartphone should wait a couple of months before purchasing. With rumors of a larger display, LTE compatibility, and an almost-certain redesign, this year’s iPhone is shaping up to be one of the most significant in the handset’s history.