Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Early: Internal documents reportedly obtained from Japanese telecommunications provider KDDI indicate that Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) much-anticipated iPhone 5S will launch in July, AppleInsider notes. The documents, whose authenticity is uncertain, say that KDDI will begin taking pre-orders for the next-generation iPhone on June 20. The documents note that the iPhone 5S will feature a 13-mexapixel rear camera and come with the newest version of Apple’s mobile operation system, iOS 7, installed. Earlier this year, a number of reports emerged suggesting a summer launch for the iPhone 5S. However, in the past month several prominent analysts backed away from those forecasts, citing supply chain sources indicating a fall launch for the new iPhone. In remarks made on a conference call announcing Apple’s quarterly results, CEO Tim Cook appeared to confirm those reports, saying that new products were coming in the fall and next year. Analysts have expected the next iPhone to feature a camera with a higher resolution and iOS 7, though the new operating system has also been rumored to be facing development delays. Other rumors suggest that the iPhone 5S could have a fingerprint scanner to enable a mobile payments system.
Focus: With competition growing for the iPad Mini, Apple may opt to cut the price of its popular 7.9-inch tablet, Mac Rumors notes. The speculation comes from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who argues that the company could introduce a cheaper iPad Mini prior to launching a new generation model with a Retina screen, in order to fend off competition from a wave of small tablets running Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android OS. In order to reduce the iPad Mini’s price, Apple would trim storage to 8GB, ditch the rear-facing camera and look for cheaper components. Kuo says a cheaper iPad Mini could be priced between $199 and $249. Kuo predicts that a Retina screen iPad Mini won’t appear until the second half of this year. He forecasts slower growth for iPad sales in 2013.
Downgrade: Despite cash holdings of $145 billion, Fitch Ratings says that commercial paper issued by Apple isn’t worth a AA credit rating, Bloomberg noted. Last week, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investor Service both gave Apple bonds their second highest credit rating. However, Fitch says that “inherent business risk” due to shifting consumer tastes in the highly competitive electronics market eclipses the strength of the company’s balance sheet. Fitch hasn’t offered a public rating for Apple yet, but its analysts say Apple merits a rating in the highest end of the single A ratings. That would place Fitch’s rating of Apple three levels below that of Moody’s and S&P. Apple has announced its intention to borrow money to finance its plans to return $100 billion to investors through higher dividends and a share repurchase program.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.