Now that we’re all resigned to not seeing a new iPhone until the fall, one analyst is speaking out, giving us hope where there was none. One Andy Zaky of Seeking Alpha believes that a new iPhone 5 (or 4S?) will be released at the end of June, early July, as per usual.
Can you feel it? Is that a fresh wind of optimism and anticipation stirring up inside you? That would be just like Apple, to let everyone think that the iPhone 5 is delayed, only to come out with a new model, JUST LIKE USUAL. Boom, indeed.
What does Zaky base his assertion on? The earnings report. In the second quarter conference call, Apple’s CFO Peter Oppenheimer, put in this very subtle statement, speaking about the next quarter: “We expect OpEx [operating expenses] to be about $2.5 billion, including about $255 million related to stock-based compensation expense.” OK, so what?
Zaky points out that the $2.5 billion in operating expenses is an increase over the previous two quarters. “The only time we see Apple do this is when it expects heavy traffic to its retail segment or ahead of a big product launch like the iPhone…. Apple almost always guides for an aggressive OpEx number ahead of the holiday shopping season. The only other time Apple puts forth such aggressive OpEx guidance is ahead of a major product launch like the iPhone,” wrote Zaky. “In what is generally considered one of Apple’s seasonally slowest quarters of the year, Apple’s management just offered the most aggressive OpEx guidance in the company’s history.”
Zaky also makes the point that if the consensus is that the iPhone 5 or 4S (would somebody please decide what it’s called soon? thanks) will only be an incremental upgrade, why does it have to be delayed? “While Apple may or may not decide to release a revolutionary new design for the iPhone this year, common sense dictates that there’s very little chance that Apple will both delay the release of the device and make only minor changes. It’s either one or the other. If Apple is going to be releasing an iPhone 4S with merely evolutionary changes this year, it’s coming out in June,” Zaky wrote.
He makes some good points. Firstly, Apple has got the most demanding and perfectionistic leader in Steve Jobs, and if the iPhone 5/4S is just an incremental upgrade, it’s coming out on time. Secondly, since Apple is feeling the embarrassment of the lost and found iPhone 4 prototype, it may well have clamped down on security so tight that Steve will be able to pull out a rare “one more thing” at WWDC. A true surprise.
While I tend to agree with Zaky’s arguments, I’m not so bold as to make predictions based on a single figure from the conference call. We won’t have long to see whether Zaky is right, and the general consensus missed the mark on this one.
What do you think? Leave a comment!