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iPhone 5S, low-cost iPhone 5 to debut this summer, analyst says

We may see both the iPhone 5S and a lower-cost iPhone 5 variant in June or July, says KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo.

Will Apple release two new iPhones this summer?
Will Apple release two new iPhones this summer?

Apple could have a busy summer if the latest iPhone forecast from one analyst comes to fruition.

The company will launch an iPhone 5S and a revamped version of the iPhone 5 in June or July, predicts KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

In an investors note received by MacRumors, Kuo said the iPhone 5S would be similar to the current model but offer a few improvements, including an A7 chip for faster performance and a fingerprint sensor. The camera specs would bump up to an f2.0 aperture and a smart LED flash.

The revamped iPhone 5 would be a lower-cost version of the current model in a somewhat thicker case made of plastic and offer a choice of six colors. The analyst estimates the phone would sell for an off-contract, or unlocked, price of $350 to $450.

Rumors of a low-cost iPhone have heated up this month with claims from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg and forecasts from other analysts. But most of the reports have cited a launch time of later in the year.

On Monday, Taiwan-based DigiTimes also said the new low-cost iPhone would be outfitted with a plastic chassis in order to cut costs. However, it's difficult to envision Apple going too cheap on the exterior as that's not the company's usual style, even when trying to lower costs.

And how is the current iPhone 5 faring?

Apple investors have been concerned over recent claims that the company recently cut its iPhone orders in half. But Kuo believes fourth-quarter sales will beat expectations.

Based on supply chain checks, Apple likely shipped 52 million iPhones last quarter, Kuo said, according to AppleInsider. If true, that would represent a 41 percent gain over the year-ago quarter.

The iPhone 5 may have accounted for 35 million units for the quarter, a drop from Kuo's previous estimate of 36.5 million. The iPhone 4S contributed 9.5 million shipments, followed by the iPhone 4 with 7.3 million. For all of 2012, Apple may have shipped more than 140 million iPhones, the analyst added.