FORTUNE -- I can never tell with analysts who go on extended walkabouts in the Far East if they're getting the inside dope from their contacts in Apple's (AAPL) supply chain or if they're just getting spun.
Case in point: Topeka Capital's Brian White, who has been filing dispatches from China and Taiwan for more than a week.
On Day 3 of his trip he came away from meetings with unnamed component suppliers convinced that Apple is getting ready to launch:
On Day 6, the buzz was that China's mobile Internet is at an inflection point and "ready to explode."
On Day 7 he met with Huawei, ZTE and an unnamed tech supply chain company. According to Tuesday's note to clients, he walked away from those meetings persuaded that Apple will release the iPhone 5S this summer in at least two and possible three screen sizes.
"Essentially, we believe Apple is coming around to the fact that one size per iPhone release does not work for everyone and offering consumers an option has the potential to expand the Company's market share. As part of this summer launch, we believe a lower-priced iPhone will be released, as we have previously discussed; however, our research is now indicating that we should not expect the price to dip below US$300."
Finally, he passes along this tidbit about Apple's chief competitor in the smartphone market: "Despite the media hype around Samsung, our contact is confident that Samsung will ultimately lose the mobile device battle to Apple because he believes Apple's products are superior."
As I say, it's hard to tell if we're getting the inside story from these guys, or just getting spun.
Survey finds Americans more keen to buy an "iTV" than they were the iPhone or iPad
FORTUNE -- Opinions about whether Apple (AAPL) is about to enter the TV set market are about as sharply divided as Fox News and MSNBC. You're either in the Gene Munster camp (It's coming, for sure, in 2013!) or in Jean-Louis Gassée's (It's a pipe dream!).
Whichever party you belong to, there's much to be gleaned MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 11, 2012 8:03 AM ET
The company's prospects for a near-term TV breakthrough appear to be bleak
FORTUNE -- It's hard to know what to make of the signals coming out of the meetings with individual analysts Apple's (AAPL) executive staff has been holding lately. SEC rules prohibit the company from sharing insider information that might have a material affect on the value of the company's stock. Yet analysts often publish notes to clients implying that MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 24, 2012 9:52 AM ET
One says Apple's iTV is already in production. Another says it won't arrive before 2014
FORTUNE -- Jefferies' Peter Misek is full of confident predictions in a note to clients issued Friday. Based on his supply chain checks and sales data out of Taiwan, he believes:
iPad builds for Apple's (AAPL) September quarter have been increased to 25 million from 18 million and to 30 million from 22-25 million for December.
That the MORE
Pouring cold water on one of Silicon Valley's hottest rumors
FORTUNE -- Although there is no shortage of iTV speculation -- thanks to rumor sites like Taipei-based DigiTimes -- and plenty of Apple (AAPL) analysts ready to calculate to the penny how much an Apple-branded TV set would add to the company's bottom line, some experts have started to back away from what was once seen as an inevitablity.
In December, Richard Gardner, formerly MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 14, 2012 1:27 PM ET
The latest "confirmation" that Apple is building a TV set turns out to be another soufflé
FORTUNE -- It is perhaps a measure of how badly broken today's commercial TV viewing experience is -- the cookie-cutter sitcoms, the ridiculous reality shows, the ever-shifting channel line-ups, the relentless, merciless commercial breaks -- that the tech press is so desperate to believe even the slimmest rumor that Apple (AAPL) is getting ready to solve MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 14, 2012 8:16 AM ET
Apple's next big thing, an analyst speculates, is more likely to be mobile payments
FORTUNE -- If I didn't already agree with him, Mike Moskowitz's note to clients Thursday would have convinced me.
"We do not expect Apple TV this year," wrote J.P. Morgan's chief Apple (AAPL) watcher. "Our research does not indicate any looming TV-related product launch, and our model does not incorporate any potential impact from a TV device at this time. MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 3, 2012 11:49 AM ET
After four years of speculation there's still not a shred of hard evidence
A lot of analysts talk about Apple's (AAPL) plans to make a television -- an actual TV set, not just a set-top box -- but last week, Jefferies' Peter Misek did something most have been careful not to do.
Citing "increased confidence" that Apple's iTV is coming, he wrote into his published forecasts the revenue from its sales: 2 million MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 17, 2012 4:30 PM ET
A giant solar array? An huge fuel cell facility? A second 500,000 sq. ft. data center?
I'm not sure I buy the main reason Jefferies' Peter Misek gave today for raising his Apple (AAPL) price target to $800 from $699: His "increased confidence" Apple is going to release the much-rumored iTV in the fourth quarter of 2012.
My own confidence that Apple is going to get into the television manufacturing business is MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 5, 2012 11:42 AM ET
Ups his Apple price target $100 to $699 and 2012 iPhone sales from 145 to 155 million
It sounds like Peter Misek, Jefferies & Company's senior Apple (AAPL) analyst, had a productive trip to Asia. In a note to clients Monday, he summarized what he found:
Signs that Apple may be preparing to begin commercial production of a full-fledged television -- which he calls iTV -- around May or June for a MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 13, 2012 10:04 AM ET
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