Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes this week re-launched speculation concerning Apple’s plans to diversify its iPhone line with the introduction of a less well-featured ‘iPhone nano’, but not until Q3 2009 at the earliest.
In a note to clients despatched this week Reitzes cut his earnings projections on Apple to reflect the globally-depressed market – but insists there’s plenty of vim and vigour left to Cupertino in the months to come.
The analyst also speculated Apple may plan to introduce a cheaper entry-level iPhone to widen its addressable market. The speculation suggests the new device will be like an iPod, but won’t have the capacity to download and use App Store applications.
There’s been a few rumours claiming Apple’s iPhone nano plans in the past, with one UK newspaper speculating the company’s intent to release the device in time for this year’s Christmas market, a claim we think unlikely.
Responding to that claim a Lehman Brothers analyst said, ““While we believe Apple is working on a lower-end iPhone form factor, we do not think one will come until Spring 2009.” (We think Spring is more likely).
Speculation that Apple plans to diversify its iPhone product range has been ongoing since April 2008.
Moving to the future of the Mac, Reitzes also expects Apple will live up to the many claims it plans to introduce a touch-capable ultra-portable device of some kind, not a netbook but a hybrid between a MacBook and an iPhone. We’re hearing the device seems set to include an ARM processor, and the Mac rumour machine anticipates the release of such a device next year.
However, speculation of an Apple sub-notebook has been ongoing for over three years now, with strong rumours to that effect repeatedly proving false.
“We believe an ultra-portable can be done right… Apple, in our view, would only introduce a premium product that doesn’t dilute its brand,” Reitzes notes.