Kuo: ‘iPhone 5S,’ Low-Cost iPhone & Next iPad mini Could Debut Later Than Expected

Kuo: ‘iPhone 5S,’ Low-Cost iPhone & Next iPad mini Could Debut Later Than Expected

Ming-chi Kuo of KGI Securities, an analyst who has a strong track record in revealing Apple’s future product plans, has suggested Apple’s “iPhone 5S,” a rumored low-cost iPhone, and a second-generation iPad mini will all launch later than most observers are expecting.



These apparent delays are driven by a variety of issues, according to Kuo. For the “iPhone 5S,” he said Apple plans to include a fingerprint sensor that poses a number of technical challenges.An “iPhone 5S” fingerprint sensor, Retina display for next iPad mini, and ultrathin plastic casing for low-cost iPhone are expected to cause production challenges for Apple.

“Apple has to work out how to prevent interference from the black and white coating material under the cover glass,” he said. “Apple is the first to attempt this function and technology, and time is needed to find the right coating material, which will likely affect iPhone 5S shipments.”

Kuo has previously stated that Apple plans to include a fingerprint sensor under the home button in the next iPhone. The technology could allow users to bypass the need for password entry to unlock their devices, and could also be used to enable secure e-wallet functions.

Kuo also says the development of iOS 7 is running behind, saying more time is likely to be needed to develop and test the software.

Kuo also says Apple is facing challenges with the casing on the rumored low-cost iPhone. He expects the low-end device to have a plastic casing slimmer than most similar casings.

Kuo sees iPhone and iPad sales shrinking to single-digit growth in the third quarter because of the apparent behind-the-scenes production delays.

“The slimmer casing may make it more difficult to ramp up production yields of coating and surface treatment, and could slow down the shipment timetable,” he said.

Last but not least, the analyst says the ‘iPad mini 2″ is facing challenges with its display panels, as he expects Apple to go with the high-resolution Retina display in the updated tablet. Including the Retina display is expected to make the device more difficult to manufacture, leading to shipment delays.

Ku says it’s likely that Apple will see only single-digit growth for iPad and iPhone shipments in the third quarter 2013, well below market expectations of 30 to 40 percent.