iPhone 6 and Other New Products Apple Could Unveil in Its "Very Busy Fall"

Another week of hyped Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) rumors has passed, and we're left with a handful of new reports to sift through. Among the most interesting was another claim about the launch time frame for Apple's upcoming iPhone 6. While nothing is certain yet, here is what we can glean from the rumor mill about Apple's product plans for the rest of the year.

Alleged leaked 4.7-inch iPhone 6 rear casing. The part was first shared by Feld & Volk.

iPhone 6 launch date?
The new rumor on the launch time frame of the iPhone 6 came from MacRumors, citing a "store leader" that unveiled several dates during an internal Apple Retail Store meeting. Like previous speculation, the source said the iPhone 6 would be introduced during a media event in September. But, with a twist, the source's claim differed from previous rumors in saying that the iPhone 6 may not hit the shelves until October -- not September, as previously expected.

Unfortunately, the source's claim of an October 14 launch date seems to take away from the credibility of the rumor, because it falls on a Tuesday. Typically, new iPhones launch on a Friday, MacRumors notes. And The Motley Fool's senior technology specialist, Evan Niu, who has followed closely for years, lists a number of other problems with the rumor.

A busy October? Probably.
But the MacRumors' source's other claim, that October would be "very busy for stores and the company itself," seems right on track. Apple CEO Tim Cook said so himself during the company's third-quarter earnings call in July that it's going to be a "very busy fall" for Apple. Further, Apple's soaring research and development costs, and commitments to third-party suppliers on the balance sheet found in the company's third-quarter 10Q filing, also support this storyline.

What products and services are expected from Apple this fall and early winter? A bifurcated iPhone 6 lineup that includes both a 4.7-inch, and phablet-like 5.5-inch model (for comparison, the iPhone 5s display measures at 4 inches), an iWatch, new iPads, new Macs, and maybe some sort of payment service have all been speculated.

iTunes Pass. Image source: Apple. Motley Fool senior technology specialist Evan Niu suggests that iTunes pass, although only offering minor incremental convenience today, may offer clues about Apple's longer-term payment strategy.

Other potential products, though more speculative in nature, are an Apple TV refresh, and some sort of hardware purposed to work with Apple's recently announced HomeKit.

Other key rumors from the week
There was more evidence during the week that Apple is planning to launch the iPhone 6 lineup in two different sizes. The evidence came from a part leak published by Nowhereelse.fr, showing high-resolution photos of home button flex cables claimed to be from the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6, each with Touch ID functionality built in.

Image source: Nowhereelse.fr.

Though it's possible that at least one of these parts could belong to the next-generation iPad, MacRumors' Kelly Hodgkins says this isn't likely. "While Apple's iPads are also rumored to be gaining Touch ID functionality this year, the parts shown in the photos are compact enough that they are much more likely to be for the iPhone."

The other notable rumor during the week from The Information reports that Apple is putting off the refresh of its Apple TV until 2015. Citing "a person familiar with the plans," cable companies that are "dragging their heels" have made execution difficult. A pending Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger doesn't help either, the report says.

Apple TV or not, a likely launch of a bifurcated iPhone lineup, new iPads, new Macs, an iWatch, and a payment service sounds like Apple has its hands full.

The biggest takeaway, at this point, is exactly what Apple CEO Tim Cook has already been trying to drive home: The company's pipeline is full of goodies. As Apple's typical product launch season approaches, it's worth wondering whether or not Apple's conservative valuation really takes into consideration the full potential of what could be Apple's best product pipeline in 25 years.


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