Apple could be in for a significant slowdown, according to one analyst, however the prospect of a new iPhone launching this year could shore up revenues.
This year's Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas reinforced the notion that the technology industry is not immune to the global slowdown in consumer demand.
The generally difficult economic climate, rising unemployment levels and general lack of job security will all be headwinds against Apple's revenue and earnings power in 2009, according to Brian Marshal of American Technology Research.
Marshal believes that Apple is working on a new device to shore up its own demand, however.
We do expect an iPhone nano launch early this year and our analysis suggests this could add an incremental ~$3.4bil in pro forma revenue [to 2009], Marshal told clients on Monday.
Consumers and Apple enthusiasts predicted the unveiling of the new product at Apple's annual Macworld Expo -- the firm's historical platform to unveil new products. While Marshal's checks suggest that a smaller version of the iPhone is infact on its way, US consumers may still have to wait indefinitely.
Despite limited information in the supplier channels and typical secrecy with new Apple products, insiders have confirmed that the iPhone nano is not yet in the testing labs at AT&T, Marshal says, leading him to believe that the launch will most likely be with a non-US carrier.
Obviously, the best-case scenario here would be a China launch (~600mil+ wireless subscribers total in the country), but we have no definitive knowledge of this and are working on identifying the local of launch and other pertinent details, he said.
Assuming the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics company sells 10 million units this year, Apple revenue and earnings-per-share should rise from 7 to 12 percent, according to AmTech's financial models.
Marshal maintains his neutral rating on the firm, with a $90.95 target.
While consumers await an official Apple release, consumers are being warned to be on the lookout or fake iPhone Nanos circulating around Asia.
Shares of Apple dropped $2.21, or 2.48 percent to $88.33.