Following reports that Apple is planning a September 12 media event to introduce the next iPhone model, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu has chimed in to say the timing seems early, but that Apple’s thinly veiled acknowledgement during its third quarter earnings conference call makes the event timing plausible.
“Recent press reports have indicated that Apple will host an iPhone special event on September 12, 2012. Frankly, this is sooner than our expectations as last year the iPhone 4S special event occurred on October, 4, 2011,” Mr. Wu said. “However, a launch that is sooner than later makes sense as it is almost universally known that there will be an iPhone refresh in the late Fall (even Apple itself acknowledged on its recent earnings call how upcoming product speculation has impacted its business).”
He said his supplier checks show volume production of the next iPhone model will most likely start in late September. If so, he expects Apple won’t see an impact on its bottom line from new iPhone sales until the December quarter.
“At this point, we remain comfortable with our iPhone forecasts looking for 23 million and 45 million units, respectively, in the September and December quarters,” Mr. Wu said.
Apple may have trouble meeting demand for the new iPhone model thanks to its rumored in-cell touchscreen. The screen is thinner than the part used in the iPhone 4S because its touch sensors are embedded in the screen instead of overlaid as a separate part, and that supplies could lead to shipping delays.
Apple is rumored to be planning a September 12 media event to unveil the sixth generation iPhone with a September 21 ship date. The company hasn’t confirmed either yet, although several new sources are claiming their contacts have confirmed the dates.
Mr. Wu has a “Buy” rating and US$780 target price for Apple’s stock. Apple is currently trading at $604.38, down 2.43 (0.40%).