Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Sooner: An Asian media outlet is reporting that Apple (AAPL) will launch its next-generation iPhone earlier than most analysts had anticipated, Reuters notes. According to Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will reach consumers in August. While reports have circulated this year that Apple might move up the debut of its new iPhone, most analysts have predicted that Apple would launch the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in September. The Economic Daily News also says that Apple will follow-up the launch of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 by launching a larger iPhone 6 model — with a 5.5-inch or 5.6-inch screen — in September. It has been widely reported over the past several months that Apple has developed two iPhone 6 models — including one with a 5.5-inch display — but recent reports have suggested that the larger model would launch later than the 4.7-inch model, and possibly not until next year, due to production issues. The new report indicates that Apple plans to manufacture 80 million iPhone 6 units in 2014.
Music: Sources tell the Financial Times that Apple is negotiating the purchase of Beats Electronics and could officially announce the purchase next week. Apple is reportedly willing to pay $3.2 billion for Beats Electronics, an unusually large buy for Apple. Included in the deal would be Beats Electronic’s music streaming service. Sources say that after Apple acquires Beats Electronics, its current management team would remain in place, reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. While Apple is said to be close to finalizing the deal, the sources told the Financial Times that some outstanding issued remained and the deal could still collapse. Not everyone is a fan of the idea of Apple buying Beats. In a note issued on Friday, Piper Jaffrey analyst Gene Munster said his team is “struggling to see the rationale behind this move,” Business Insider notes. Munster noted that Apple “already has a world class brand “ and that Beats does not possess any intellectual property that “would drive the acquisition justification beyond the [Beats] brand.” Munster suggested that acquiring Yelp (YELP), Yahoo (YHOO), Twitter (TWTR) or Square would be “a better use of capital” for Apple.
Leaving and Arriving: Apple’s long time Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Communications, Katie Cotton, is retiring after 18 years at the iPhone-maker, Re/code notes. Cotton was infamous in media circles for crafting Apple’s cautious and consistent media narrative. In 2010, Cotton was listed as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women” in business by Fortune. Apple said that Cotton was leaving the company to “spend time with her children.” Also departing Apple is Zane Rowe, head of Apple’s North American sales, after just two years on the job, Reuters notes. Rowe previously served as the CFO at United Continental (UAL). He joined Apple in 2012. Apple did not disclose a reason for Rowe’s departure. Set to join Apple is Ari Partinen, a senior engineer on the Lumia photography team at Nokia (NOK), Engadget notes. Nokia recently sold it handset business to Microsoft (MSFT). Partinen tweeted that he would join Apple in June.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.