Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

Or add to your news reader: Add to My Yahoo! Add to Google

Thursday, May 22, 2008

iPhone 3G delay rumors - naturally

With a couple of weeks before the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), where Steve Jobs is widely rumored to be planning to release the new iPhone, well... here come the rumors.

Baidu, Google, Research in Motion and Apple have been trading in tandem since the middle of last year. The first 3 have all undergone 10-15% corrections in the last few sessions... for different reasons. Google because Microsoft is offering cash to consumers for clicking on ads instead of taking it themselves. Research In Motion because... well... it kinda traded off following as the hype ran out of the stock in the wake of the Bold rollout. Baidu... who knows... bunch of monkeys on speed trade that stock every which way every which day. Apple has been slow to follow.

Apple's Mac sales data was strong for the month of April and presumably is still holding strong in May. iPods, the laggard, have been inching up and are tracking over street consensus of 10.5 mil units. Apple procured a lot of NAND in early April at very aggreeable prices and should see a margin benefit this quarter, though they guided margins lower when they reported.

The iPhone may or may not ship on June 9th. The real question is whether they'll ship enough volume in the June quarter to offset the complete debacle that is the 2G iPhone channel drain. I think they just don't want to sell people a product that they know from past experience customers will demand their money back for when they roll out a superior product at a lower price point a couple of weeks later. And it's probably the right move over time. The fact is that they have a dozen carriers signed up to sell it for them... whatever they ship is probably not enough to fill the demand anyway. If they have a hickey in the quarter, it's going to be forgiven as you get into the seasonal strength of the September quarter when new Macs get sent off to college and they continue to produce iPhones as quickly as they can.

Their 10mm unit estimate for this year is probably far too low once the 3G version is out there at a $199 price point.

The biggest issue with Apple is that everyone really ought to know all of this. The story is changing somewhat. Apple got a lot of benefit from the AT&T relationship in that they received a $20/month kickback on all subscribers. The question is whether these other deals will be as lucrative as they're non-exclusive. I would think not. So there will be less subscriber revenue on the back end over time. That's not terrible if they can sell millions more phones this way... and they probably can.

The author is long a little Apple here. Just a little.


A friend just pointed out to me that I wrote that the phone would be $199 and implied it would be sold through other carriers. I think the more accurate thing to say would be it will be subsidized at $199 through AT&T (at least, according to popular conjecture) and will be sold at a premium ($399?) through Apple directly where it can be unlocked and used on other carriers. I'm getting ahead of the story in talking about carriers besides AT&T selling the phone. (Though if I were a carrier and I could get away with it, I'd probably buy a bunch of unlocked phones at $399 and charge people an extra $5 a month in iPhone data premium to recoup my loss.)

No comments:

Blog Archive