Apple’s 2013 iPhone event is here. At the end of the day, everything comes down to expectations. If reality is unable to meet expectations, disappointment is not far behind. If expectations are kept measured, reality may still be able to deliver a positive surprise. Taking into account weeks of rumor, speculation, discussion, and simply “educated” guessing, here are my expectations:
Subsidy Land (Countries where phones are subsidized by mobile carriers)
$199 – iPhone 5S with a 128GB option, “gold” color option, fingerprint scanner, improved camera, faster processor. (95% confidence)
$99 - iPhone 5C available in various colors. (75% confidence)
$0 - iPhone 4S (51% confidence)
Non-Subsidy Land (Countries where phones are not subsidized by mobile carriers. Pre-paid option in subsidy land. For simplicity, I’m not considering various taxes/international fees.)
$650 – iPhone 5S with a 128GB option, “gold” color option, fingerprint scanner, improved camera, faster processor. (95% confidence)
$499 – iPhone 5C available in various colors. (75% confidence)
$399 - iPhone 4S (51% confidence)
$349 – iPhone 4 (50.1% confidence)
1) The “cheap” iPhone won’t be cheap. Consensus seems to have settled around the $399-$499 range, therefore I suspect $499 is the floor. For the first time, Apple will be selling a brand new iPhone for under $100 in the U.S.
2) I think the iPhone 4S and 4 will stick around (in somewhat limited capacity). I have received the most push-back on this point, but I still see a large market need being met by the 4S and 4 (having an iPhone at a sub-$400 price point is important).
3) The iPhone 5 will see end-of-life, to be replaced by the very capable iPhone 5C.
4) Notice the subtle differences in subsidy and non-subsidy wholesale pricing. Apple may be willing to sacrifice $50 or so in non-subsidy land for more aggressive iPhone 5C pricing (coinciding with China Mobile launch).
5) I think an iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner could be a pretty big talking point during the keynote (think this year’s Siri). Expect very limited functionality, but a ton on security and privacy.
6) Other topics such as a refreshed Apple TV (not a TV set), updated iPods, and a few more new iOS 7 features are probably more likely than not at this point.
Other Random Musings
As usual with Apple keynotes, the safe bet is to collect all rumors and divide by half to get closer to reality. There will likely be disappointment around iPhone 5C pricing and chatter that the iPhone 5S isn’t different enough from previous models. Let’s not even begin to discuss iOS 7 reactions.