There are a number of reports pointing to September as the month Apple plans to launch the iPhone 5S. Which one is right on the money is anyone's guess at this point, but they all have the same month in common. There's even talk that the new phone will be accompanied by the long-rumored "lite" model sporting a hard plastic screen instead of glass among other cost-cutting features.
First up to bat is German blog iFun that claims it has talked with an insider close to the launch. Apple will reportedly launch two different devices on September 6: supposedly the iPhone 5S and the iPhone Lite. That's around two weeks earlier than the launch of Apple's iPhone 5 in 2012, and could mean the devices will be revealed in late August. Apple's Tim Cook already confirmed that new products would be announced "this fall and across 2014."
That said, perhaps Apple plans to reveal the iPhone 5S on September 6, with shipments taking place later during the month. There's speculation that the iPhone 5S at the very least must go on sale around September 20 to allow a full weekend and an entire week of sales to jack up Apple's earnings before the end of fiscal 4Q 2013. This is based on a report by Walter Piecyk of BTIG covering Apple's fiscal third quarter results ending June 29 (opens in new tab).
"We don’t think that Apple can hit its newly issued revenue guidance for the September quarter unless it launches new products," he said. "After delivering $35 billion in revenue in the June quarter, management guided to $34-$37 billion next quarter. Revenue would more typically drop multiple billions if the company had no new products planned. With September quickly approaching, this could be the start of a string of new product announcements that increase investor confidence in Apple’s ability to return to EPS growth next year."
Ok, so we get it so far. To end fiscal 2013 with a bang, Apple needs to release new products in September. Apple did the same last year, delivering over 5 million iPhone 5 units in one weekend, and before the end of fiscal 2012. That caused a 58 percent increase in iPhone sales year-over-year. There's no doubt Apple plans to do the same, especially if it has two separate iPhone units in hand.
Finally there's another "reliable source" who claims the iPhone 5S and iPhone Lite will be revealed during a special event on September 18, and made available on September 27. While the latter date seems rather late in the game for fiscal 2013, the company could be betting on similar weekend sales seen with the iPhone 5 in 2012, in addition to numbers generated by the second iPhone Lite unit.
The "Lite" version will supposedly be a refreshed iPhone 5 with a selection of colors, a plastic protective screen instead of glass, and a plastic chassis. The subsidized price will be $99, making it a killer deal for those who don't mind the toy-like 4 inch screen.
So there you have it -- a bunch of dates pointing to the same month. Bottom line is that Apple needs to make investors happy, and that can be accomplished by flooding the market with new hardware before the end of its fiscal year. After all, hardware is Apple's primary focus, and all the apps and media loaded up on iTunes is icing on the cake.