In a research note, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek says Apple is going to start meaningful production on its next version of the iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 5S, later this month. "We believe total FQ4 (Sep) build plans are likely on the higher-end of our 25M-30M estimate and FQ1 (Dec) build plans remain at our 50M-55M estimate," Misek wrote in his note. He rates Apple "hold" with a $405 price target.
In recent years, Apple has unveiled the latest version of its iPhone in the fall, and 2013 appears to be no different. The phone is expected to have a 4-inch screen, the same as the iPhone 5, but also incorporate technology from Apple's AuthenTec acquisition last year, allowing people to use their fingerprint instead of inputting passwords. The next version may also have a larger, better camera, and the side buttons, which control volume, may be arranged differently.
Apple could not be immediately reached for comment for this story.What is different this year is that, in addition to the next version of the iPhone, Apple may also be announcing a low-end iPhone. This comes as it seeks to hold onto market share, with the high-end of the market seeing a slowdown in growth. Competitor Samsung has seen a slowdown in its smartphones as well, despite Google's (GOOG) Android operating system continuing to own market share in the smartphone industry. As such, Misek believes Apple is focusing more on the low-end iPhone for its fiscal quarter. "We believe the FQ1 build mix has shifted significantly towards the low-cost iPhone," Misek wrote in the note. Apple shares were slightly lower in early Monday trading, losing 0.24% to trade at $425.48. -- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >Contact by Email. Follow @Chris_Ciaccia