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Analyst tallies perks of September launch of new iPhone, iPad

Latest prediction: New product unveiling Sept. 12, on-sale Sept. 21

July 30, 2012 02:19 PM ET

Computerworld - Increased talk of a September launch of the next iPhone, as well as a new, smaller iPad -- if accurate -- would make it easier for Apple to erase the bad taste of the second quarter and beat its own lowered expectations this quarter, a Wall Street analyst said today.

Brian White, of Topeka Capital Markets, said Apple would be smart to ship the new smartphone and tablet in September -- part of the third calendar quarter -- rather than duplicate its 2011 timetable, when it launched the iPhone 4S in early October, or the fourth quarter.

"A September launch for the iPhone 5 would be significant for the stock price, especially given the recent concerns around the June quarter weakness in the iPhone and a weak September quarter outlook," said White in a Monday note to clients.

Apple's stock took a hit last week after the company reported earnings below Wall Street's projections. In the same conference call with analysts, Apple pegged the third quarter's revenue at $34 billion, about $4 billion short of the Streets' expectation.

Since then, Apple's stock has recovered much of last week's losses: Monday's share price of $596 was nearing the $604 closing price on July 23, the day Apple released its second-quarter numbers.

An earlier launch date for the iPhone 5 would give the company a better chance of bringing supply closer to demand this year, said White in an interview today.

"If they're moving to a different form factor for the iPhone 5, which is what we expect, they're more likely to have yield issues," said White, referring to an anticipated change in the size of the new iPhone. "Just in general, it's always been somewhat more difficult to get good yields with a [design] change."

Apple has typically had trouble meeting demand for several months after the launch of a new iPhone; a new design would exacerbate that imbalance, in White's opinion.

A three-week jump over last year could also move up the date when supply meets demand, important because of the end-of-year holiday sales season in the West, and the start of buying for the New Year's holiday in China.

White was reacting to new speculation that Apple would introduce the next iPhone -- tagged as "iPhone 5" by most in the absence of an official name -- in September.

Earlier today, iMore.com, citing no specific source, claimed that Apple will unveil the new iPhone on Sept. 12 and begin selling the smartphone Sept. 21.

Those dates are three weeks earlier than the ones in October that many have assumed would be used in a repeat of the iPhone 4S's schedule. According to that theory, the new iPhone would debut Oct. 2 and go on sale Oct. 12.



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