Apple is expected to deliver its iPhone 5 in its late fourth quarter ending Sept. 2011, according to an analyst at BMO Capital Markets.
We think Apple will upgrade iPods in the June quarter and iPhones in the September quarter, analyst Keith Bachman wrote in a note to clients.
The analyst said his take is that it was always scheduled for late in the September quarter, and issues in the supply chain have not caused a push out of the launch date.
We think new features will include better, more fully functioning screens, and likely include payment capabilities. We are unclear if the new phones are LTE, Bachman wrote.
There were market rumors that iPhone 5 may not be launched in June as was expected generally.
Gadget market observers have taken cues from Apple's statement in which it made the WWDC announcement. At this year's conference we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS, the statement quoted Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, as saying. If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is the event that you do not want to miss.
Tech websites read meaning into Apple's focus on iOS to infer that Apple may not release iPhone 5 in June. The reason is that Apple has designed the WWDC event as a software show, not as a hardware show. The WWDC will be held from June 6 through June 10 at San Francisco's Moscone West.
The next generation iPhone is said to cost less and might feature a new integrated SIM card that would be easily configurable on any supported carrier, 9to5Mac ahd reported earlier. The iPhone 5 may also carry an upgraded A4 processor, already dubbed the A5 chip, in addition to a new Gobi WWAN chip already found in the Verizon iPhone, designed to work on both CDMA and GSM networks, it said.
Other rumored iPhone 5 specifications include a multi-core A5 CPU powered with a dual-core graphics core and the addition of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.
Bachman noted that ship lead times for the iPad 2 have shrunk to three to four weeks, from four to five weeks, even as the international rollout has begun.
We forecast 6.1 million iPads in the March quarter and believe that our estimate is appropriate. We believe buy-side expectations are around 6 million iPad units for the March quarter, the analyst said.
We believe iPad shipments could increase materially in the June quarter, with manufacturing catching up to demand, Bachman added.
The analyst sees limited revenue upside this quarter, given aggressive consensus estimates, a reasonable but not a blowout Verizon iPhone rollout, unexpectedly weak consumer demand in Japan, and the timing of iPad launch in the March quarter.
Against this backdrop, we think investor expectations for revenues are low this March quarter. Further, we believe improved delivery of iPads and gradual recovery in Japan will help top-line growth in subsequent quarters, Bachman wrote.
Bachman has an outperform rating and $350.96 price target on Apple stock.