It doesn't take much for an Apple rumor to go viral. One analyst makes a bold prediction about the next iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV set, and the internet goes crazy. What isn't as common is an analyst with a proven track record forecasting Apple's entire annual product line.
iPhone 5S, cheap iPhone 5
Kuo agrees with previous rumors that the iPhone 5S will launch less than a year after its predecessor. He sees the upgraded handset arriving in June or July, carrying an A7 chip, an upgraded camera (with an f2.0 aperture and smart LED flash), and a fingerprint sensor.
The analyst also concurs with the budget iPhone murmurs. He believes, however, that the low-cost iPhone will be a redesigned iPhone 5. It would supposedly feature a thicker (8.2 mm) plastic casing, and sell in six different colors.
iPad 5, Retina iPad mini
Supporting another pair of rumors we've heard, Kuo predicts that the next iPad will be thinner and lighter, and take on the iPad mini's narrower side bezels. The 2nd-generation iPad mini will sport a big upgrade of its own in a Retina Display.
Contrasting previous rumors, though, Kuo believes that the new iPads will launch in Q3, rather than March.
2013, according to the analyst, will be the year that the MacBook Pro goes all-Retina. He sees Apple dropping the non-Retina Pros, and also dropping the prices of the Retina models. In one of his more questionable predictions, he says Apple will redesign the Retina MacBook Pros after just one generation.
The MacBook Air and iMac, according to Kuo, won't be so lucky. He says that Retina Displays won't be in the cards for either product line this year. He sees their big upgrades coming in shifts to Intel's high performance/low power Haswell chips.
Apple TV, iPod touch
Kuo forecasts content deals holding up the long-anticipated Apple TV set. Instead, he sees the Apple TV set-top box receiving a minor (unknown) update earlier in the year.
The iPod touch will supposedly have an off-year, with Apple dropping the 4th-gen model and replacing it with a lower-cost version of the 5th-gen model.
Wait and see
Analysts' predictions are often off-target, but Kuo's history suggests that he has quality sources. It's unlikely, though, that he has 100 percent solid information on every Apple product. He more likely sees supply chain movement in certain directions, and is filling in the blanks as best he can.
What do you think? Are his predictions reasonable? Or is he just seeking headlines during a post-CES news lull? Let us know in the comments.