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Apple’s alleged 2013 product roadmap only strengthens iPhone 5S and cheaper iPhone rumors

When it comes to forecasting potential Apple product launches, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo may be one of the most credible and accurate experts in the field. He correctly predicted that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company would release the iPhone 5 in September, and added that a refreshed third-generation iPad and iPad Mini would follow soon after.

His roadmap for 2013, however, may be lacking this element of surprise or excitement for most Apple fans. Kuo’s projections seem fairly safe and basic, but the report does serve to intensify rumors that have been circulating the Web in recent weeks. According to Kuo, Apple plans to release a successor to the iPhone 5 in the third quarter of 2013. This would presumably be the iPhone 5S and would mark almost one year since the current-generation iPhone made its debut.

This rumor isn’t anything new – whispers of another iPhone release have been spreading since November when DigiTimes reported that Apple would plan its next-generation smartphone for the middle of 2013. The site obtained this information from analysts watching Apple’s supply chain, but didn’t specify any particular sources.

Apple could potentially introduce a redesigned iPhone 5 in the same quarter as well, Kuo predicts. This could prove to be the highly speculated low-cost iPhone that has made headlines in recent weeks, and Kuo isn’t the first analyst to make this assertion. Researcher at Topeka Capital Markets Brian J. White told Reuters this month that Apple could launch a smaller and cheaper iPhone to penetrate further markets.

“We think Apple will have to launch an iPhone Mini at some point over the next three years to address the hundreds of millions of pre-paid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone,” he said.

Kuo doesn’t specify how much the iPhone 5 would change beyond a “redesign,” but his notion would seem to align with White’s projections. This low-budget iPhone would come in six colors according to Kuo, and would feature a body made of plastic rather than the premium finish found on Apple’s current line iPhones.

As for the iPhone 5S, the upcoming smartphone would keep the same form factor as the iPhone 5 but would come equipped with some technical upgrades such as an A7 chip, a fingerprint sensor and an improved camera with an f2.0 aperture and a smart LED flash. A modified fifth generation iPod Touch and iPod Nano are also projected to debut in the same portion of the year.

In addition, Q3 2013 is expected to herald in the fifth generation iPad and a successor to the iPad Mini. To little surprise, the iPad Mini 2 would sport a Retina Display screen while the standard sized iPad would come in a slimmer and lighter flavor with sleeker bezels.

Kuo certainly seems to have Apple’s plans for the year mapped out, but we’re not necessarily shocked to learn this information. The first major product launch should be coming soon according to Kuo’s predictions, which indicate that an Apple TV refresh is headed our way this quarter.