updated 10:02 am EDT, Wed July 24, 2013
Guidance assume little pause in sales ahead of debut
Comments about the fourth quarter during Apple's Q3 results call suggest a September 27 launch of a new iPhone, says Wells Fargo Securities analyst Maynard Um. He notes that Apple indicated a new product launch in "the fall," which runs from September 22 through December 21 in the northern hemisphere. If Apple is not using the term "fall" colloquially and holds to its preference for Friday launches, September 27 would be the earliest opportunity. The iPhone 5, for instance, shipped on Friday, September 21, 2012.
Um also comments that Apple has provided "flattish" revenue guidance, implying there may not be "any greater pause" this year ahead of a new iPhone versus last year, despite the company effectively revealing the 2013 launch window. Apple is already slashing away at its iPhone channel inventory, "presumably to manage the transition and limit price protection," Um writes. The analyst suggests that there could be a number of explanations for the guidance situation, such as "strong demand in July, early August visibility for existing iPhone and/or greater confidence into a bigger initial launch in late September."
Apple is generally predicted to ship not one but two new iPhone models this year. The flagship should be the iPhone 5S, mostly expected to get speed boosts, a better camera, and possibly fingerprint recognition and/or NFC. The second phone is a "low-cost" (actually mid-tier) model, which may preserve some of the advancements of the 5S but make sacrifices in areas like its camera and choice of materials. Many leaked photos (which may or may not be authentic) have shown plastic backs.