The iPhone 6 could start selling sometime in July 2014, an analyst says, citing sources.
Mizuho Securities analyst Abhey Lamba said that sources in Japan and elsewhere in Asia indicate that an introduction in July is a possibility, although it’s too early to know for sure.
Supply chain vendors are getting ready for an earlier ramp up of production versus prior years, he told Street Insider.
“Recently, the company has been introducing new lineup in September time frame whereas the next generation phones could come out in July this year,” he said. “The earlier launch will be helpful for Apple as it will ensure significant availability and distribution of the new device during the holiday season.”
Lamba confirmed that may be different models of the phone, with display sizes varying from 4.7 inches to 5.5 inches. The iPhone 5 is four inches.
That aligns with earlier rumors that there will be one version with a 4.7 inch display and a bigger, “phablet” version with a 5.5-inch display.
Lamba also said that iOS8 will include enhancements that open up the iPhone’s touch ID fingerprint scanner to developers.
The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the models aren’t expected to be released until the second half of this year, but things may have changed since then.
The paper reported that both phones are expected to feature metal casings similar to the ones on the iPhone 5S, with the cheaper plastic cases on the iPhone 5C being scrapped.
It also said that the smaller model is further along in development.
Experts believe that Apple needs a bigger screened phone soon.
“Apple definitely needs a larger-screen smartphone soon, particularly to address the demand in the emerging markets,” said Canalys analyst Jessica Kwee.
She estimated that about 25 percent of smartphones shipped worldwide in the third quarter of 2013–about 60 million phones–had displays that were five inches or larger.