Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in line to restore the deteriorating demand for iPhone smartphones with its newest product in the market, iPhone 5, according to analysts. The company experienced a slowdown in demand for its iPhone products during fiscal Q3, which contributed to the missed analysts targets, and the same slowdown did extend to the current Q4.
However, the struggle could be already over with the recent launch of iPhone 5, which also played a big part in the slowdown realized over the last few months, as buyers held on to their hard earned cash, waiting for the new and improved device. Apple launched the awaited device yesterday, exhibiting significant improvements to the current iPhone 4s, with a majority of them coming out as earlier previewed in our articles.
The new iPhone 5 is indeed revolutionary enough to reignite the iPhone demand, as was stated by Bank of America Company (NYSE:BAC)’s Merrill Lynch research analysts. The new device features a 4″ screen, albeit retaining the same width, so that you may still continue comfortably doing what you used to do with one hand with your iPhone 4s, which had 3.5″ screen.
It also has a thinner form-factor, LTE connectivity, faster A6 processor, new 8-pin connector, and the same 16/32/64GB capacity, which was pretty much expected. However, there were some few surprises especially in regard to the number of carriers and the time the iPhone 5 is expected to roll-out. According to Jefferies Equity Research, this surprised many, as both were beyond analyst expectations.
The new iPhone is 18% thinner, 22% lighter, and amazingly faster than its predecessor, while the processor is also 22% smaller than the A5 (implies a ~95mm footprint), notes Jefferies. Nonetheless, Merrill Lynch analysts believe that the gap between the evolutionary iPhone 5 and the other smartphones in the market is narrowing, but still hold a bullish view on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock.
Additionally, the new iPhone 5 did ignore a thing or two that was well embraced by competitors during this season’s refresh. For instance, Apple did not include NFC (in iOS 6 software code, but not enabled), a new tier-1 carrier, or an AirPort Extreme upgrade to WiFi ac, notes Jefferies Equity Research.
Furthermore, the event also failed to address TD-SCDMA support, although it is expected that iPhone 5 will use Qualcomm’s MDM9615 modem chip (supports LTE and TD-SCDMA) and Qualcomm’s Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) WTR1605 transceiver (also supports LTE and TD-SCDMA). This implies that iPhone 5 will eventually be able to support TD-SCDMA functionality, if Apple enables it.
The announcement also detailed that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) kept the pricing at $199, $299, and $399 for the iPhone 5, while it maintained free and $99 iPhones (iPhone 4/4S, respectively). Merrill Lynch analysts believe that Apple’s strategy to keep the prices down will be key in keeping up with competition for the high-end devices in the market, while the free $99 iPhone 4s pricing will compete well at the low-end markets.
The first roll-out is expected to hit the market on September 14 (the pre-order date), with the shipping coming in seven days later. The initial launch will be rolled out in 10 markets, with more countries welcoming the new device beginning on September 28. In the end, Apple expects to have launched the iPhone 5 in at least 100 countries, attracting 240 carriers by the end of this calender year.
The international distribution will also attract LTE carriers from all over the world, and according to an article on Apple Insider, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will sell three variants of its iPhone 5 for the international LTE coverage. The company will sell to AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), and its Canadian Partners Bell/Virgin, Rogers/Fido and Telus/Koodo provides LTE support for bands 4 (AWS) and 17 (700b MHz), but not CDMA.
On the other hand it will sell a second, CDMA model A1429, to Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S), and Japan’s KDDI with CDMA network in the U.S and Japan. The CDMA iPhone 5 supports LTE bands of 1 (2100MHz), 3 (1800MHz), 5 (850MHz), 13 (700cMHz, used by Verizon), while Sprint uses 25 (1900MHz).
The third varinat will be sold to GSM/LTE in Europe, Asia, and Softbank Japan, and will also be available for the rest of the world.
Merrill Lynch analysts also expect Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to have shipped at least 23 million units of iPhone 5 by the end of the current quarter, which is due to run out in just over two weeks, while the next quarter will more than double this volume by shipping 49 million units.
Elsewhere, the highly hyped iPad mini launch never came to be as highly predicted in a majority of our articles. However, Jefferies Equity research noted that the new iPad mini would be as follows: by 10/10 invitation for the iPad mini event, mid-Oct iPad mini announcement, 10/23 likely release of CQ3 earnings results, end-Oct iPad mini launch.
Bank of America Company (NYSE:BAC)’s Merrill Lynch has maintained its projections for the company, including its price objective of $770 per share, while Jefferies Equity Research has slapped Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) with a price target of $900 per share from their initial target of $750.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock yesterday closed at $669.79 per share, up $9.20, or 1.4%, from the previous close.