updated 10:18 am EDT, Thu August 2, 2012
Could impact Apple sales, China Mobile launch
If Apple is in fact holding an iPhone event on September 12th, it could create some unexpected problems, an investor memo from Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu indicates. Based on "supplier checks," the analyst notes that he only expects volume production of iPhones to happen in late September. If so that could meant that while suppliers will make a fair amount of money in the September quarter, Apple itself won't see a substantial amount of money until the December quarter.
Wu says that his firm is also "picking up progress" on a possible China Mobile iPhone launch by the end of the year, but that it could end up being pushed out to 2013 anyway because of supply constraints. A potential contributor to this is the new, thinner in-cell touchscreen technology Apple is believed to be using, which could create a production bottleneck. "We believe what will likely happen is that iPhone will be capacity constrained due to 'overwhelming' demand and some [production] orders will likely 'spill over' to the March and June 2013 quarters," Wu writes.
Going into detail about China Mobile, the analyst claims that final details are being arranged, and that progress has been "accelerated" by the future iPhone's compatibility with the TD-SCDMA 3G standard, among other China-specific features. TD-SCDMA is a format only used by China Mobile, and has served as a barrier to iPhone adoption despite the device being on sale with China Unicom and China Telecom. Mobile is the world's largest wireless carrier, and any iPhone owners on its network are using hacked devices limited to 2G data.