Analyst: China iPhone 6 Delay is No Big Deal

Apple's new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be in stores in several countries this Friday, but not in China. Apple may not be able to roll out its latest iPhone models in the country until the end of this year, or even early next year, but that's no big deal because the company will still be able to sell as many smartphones as it can make, according to Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um.

No iPhone 6 in China? No big deal, says Wells Fargo analystNo iPhone 6 in China? No big deal, says Wells Fargo analyst

Mr. Um told investors,

Media reports including from Fortune suggest Apple may not launch the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus until the end of 2014 or in 2015 due to network licensing issues. This does not change our view that Apple should be able to sell whatever it can manufacture given demand and assuming Apple eventually attains a network license, would provide some sell­in visibility to next year.

He added that China's impact on iPhone sales can be overstated, and that reports of a 25 percent impact on demand is far too high. "We also believe that demand in other regions is likely to rise as those in China who want the iPhone are likely to procure an iPhone 6/6 Plus from other countries, as we've seen historically," he said.

The delay in China's iPhone launch is apparently related to licensing issues, which in turn may be directly tied to the country's on-going political concerns over U.S. spying. China's state-run media has been accusing Apple and other U.S.-based tech companies of designing products that spy on Chinese citizens and collect state secrets, raising concerns over national security.

Even without China in the mix Apple sold over 4 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphone pre-orders in just 24 hours, and is expected to sell over 10 million phones this weekend when the new models are available in stores. Assuming in-store demand matches last Friday's pre-order frenzy, Apple could sell through its inventory quickly, leaving shoppers who didn't line up early enough without a brand new iPhone in hand.

Apple will likely see a boost in sales again once China approves the new models for sale in the country, which will translate to ongoing high demand.

Mr. Um is maintaining his "Market Weight" rating and target price range between US$89 and $99 for Apple's stock. Apple is currently trading at $99.61, down 2.02 (1.99%).