We see three possible bottlenecks for the iPhone that could contribute to lower yields (and hence higher costs) and/or a delayed launch.
● App processor production at 20nm. Apple’s current iPhone app processor is on 32nm. For the iPhone 6 we think Apple will likely skip over 28nm and go to 20nm to facilitate adding more cores (4 or even 8). While TSMC is targeting a 2014 ramp in its 20nm production we think that issues like double patterning could make it a more complicated transition than the 28nm ramp, which had its own substantial ramp and yield issues.
● Display shifting from in-cell LCD to on-cell OLED or IGZO. We think in- cell is having difficulty ramping to 4.8”, which is making Apple look at switching to on-cell (a different integrated touchscreen technology) and OLED (despite Apple’s suppliers being well behind Samsung in their OLED capabilities) or IGZO.
● Revamped OS. We think Apple plans to re-architect iOS to utilize more cores and better compete with Samsung. Also, we believe the way iOS interoperates with iCloud, gestures controls, and advertising will be substantially upgraded.
Misek predicts Apple will release an iPhone 5S and a cheaper iPhone in July/July and will update the iPad in September/October alongside an iTV.