While some industry watchers issue Apple research covering things that never seem to materialize — like the “iRing” and “iTV,” for example — Ming-Chi Kuo has made a name for himself using a slightly different method: his predictions are almost always correct. As such, we should all pay attention when Kuo issues new research on Apple’s plans, and on Thursday morning he sent out a massive report covering what seems to be just about everything there is to know about the upcoming iPhone 6 and iPhone phablet.
In a note to investors sent Thursday that was picked up by MacRumors, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo passed along information gleaned from his always-reliable supply chain sources. In doing so, he may have taken all the mystery out of Apple’s upcoming next-generation iPhone launches later this year.
Beginning with the main flagship iPhone 6 model, Kuo reports that it will indeed feature a new 4.7-inch display panel. In an earlier note, the analyst said that the new Retina panel will sport a resolution of 1,334 x 750 pixels, which works out to a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.
Kuo said that the iPhone 6 will feature a new Apple A8 processor along with 1GB of RAM. While rival Android devices move to 2GB or even 3GB of RAM in 2014, Apple is apparently content to stick with 1GB. The comparatively small amount of memory doesn’t seem to be causing any problems thus far.
The analyst also says Apple’s new iPhone will feature a big design overhaul that is much thinner, and the bezel on the sides of the display will be reduced by between 10% and 20% so that the phone can still be used comfortably with one hand despite the larger screen.
Interestingly, Kuo believes that Apple will add NFC chips to this year’s iPhone models.
The new iPhone phablet will feature a full HD 1,920 x 1,080-pixel display that measures 5.5 inches diagonally, according to Kuo. That works out to a pixel density of 401 ppi.
Apple’s first phablet will seemingly sport specs that are very similar to the smaller iPhone 6 model, including the A8 processor, NFC and Touch ID. The battery will be much larger, however, with Kuo suggesting that it will be between 50% and 70% bigger than the current iPhone 5s battery.
Kuo also says that the power/sleep/wake button on both new iPhone models will be moved from the top of the phone to the side, so it can be reached more easily on the larger phones. Many large Android phones have the power button situated on the side as well.
The analyst claims that Apple will switch from Gorilla Glass to sapphire crystal to cover the iPhone’s displays, but possibly only on the high-end models with 64GB of memory. This is due to supply constraints, Kuo said, though ultimately Apple will supposedly move all of its iPhone models to sapphire.
Part of the reason for the shift to sapphire, Kuo said, is that Touch ID may soon be embedded in iPhone display panels rather than home buttons, and sapphire is needed to ensure fingerprint reading accuracy.
According to the report, the iPhone 4s and iPhone 4 will be discontinued and the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will occupy Apple’s two lower-end price slots. In the U.S., that would make the iPhone 5c free on contract while the iPhone 5s would likely retail for $99 on contract.
Kuo says that Apple’s new 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will launch late in the third quarter, and the iPhone phablet will launch late in the fourth quarter. His release timing aligns with a report from earlier this week.
More big leaks from Kuo’s note on Thursday: