Although Apple’s much-awaited September 10 announcement remains days away, analysts are already weighing the potential benefit for the all-important fourth quarter. Can Apple get a much-needed bump in end of the year sales by launching the upgraded iPhone 5S and the new iPhone 5C, as well as potential distribution deals in China and Japan?
At the heart of new estimates for the September quarter is Apple’s ability to quickly announce, then begin sales of the new hardware. Lucky for Apple, before becoming CEO, Tim Cook was the iPhone maker’s supply chain maestro…
This is the possible timeline Apple has ahead of itself: the fiscal fourth quarter extends from July 1 to September 30. If Apple follows its September 10 announcement with handsets in stores by September 20, the iPhone maker will have just nine days to blow the doors off the fourth quarter. One analyst believes it’s possible with a little help from “extremely efficient supply chain management.”
Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves expects Apple will unveil the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C on Tuesday. The iPhone 5C, seen as Apple’s answer to emerging market demand for low-cost smartphones, “is essentially an iPhone 5 with a different case,” according to Hargreaves.
The analyst believes Apple could sell 31 million iPhones – around ten million of that number the new iPhone 5S/5C devices. John Paczkowski, writing for AllThingsD, says the analyst told investors the portion of new iPhones sold during the quarter could reach 13 million if Apple cracks the whip on suppliers.
At even 10 million iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C handsets sold in roughly just over a week, the figure would break the sales pace of the iPhone 5 when it hit shelves.
Ten million new iPhones sold in nine days is three million more than the seven million iPhone 5 units Apple is estimated to have sold during the nine-day period at the end of fourth quarter 2012.
However, the 31 million iPhones predicted for the September quarter is nothing compared to the 50 million the analyst forecasts for the first quarter, which runs from October 1 through December 31.
That period could potentially be fueled by adding huge distributions deals with China Mobile and Japan’s NTT DoCoMo. The two carriers would bring 760 million subscribers, contributing to an additional fifteen million iPhones each year, according to the analyst.
If anyone needed another reason why Apple is bending itself into a pretzel trying to woo the world’s largest carrier, China Mobile alone would contribute 10 million of that 15 million figure.