Apple Inc. (AAPL)'s next iPhone is likely to be introduced in October and will feature a new body design and work with faster wireless networks, according to Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. (PJC) who had expected an August release for the top-selling smartphone.
In a note today, Munster wrote that October is more probable after chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) announced it is having trouble meeting demand for components that the analyst expects to be included in a new iPhone. The supply constraints, along with Verizon Wireless reporting a drop in iPhone sales, contributed to a 3.4 percent decline in Apple shares today.
The iPhone is Apple's top-selling product, accounting for 53 percent of its sales in the quarter that ended last December. Apple hasn't discussed plans for the next version's release. Munster, who has correctly predicted the release of previous Apple products, said in the note that Qualcomm's radio chips that allow for faster connection to the Internet will be included in the next-generation iPhone.
Apple released the iPhone 4S, the current version, in October of last year. Munster said the release of the new model should lead investors to raise their projections for financial results in the quarter ending in December 2012. The analyst wrote that he had previously modeled for the iPhone to be unveiled in August.
By working with new so-called long-term evolution, or LTE, wireless networks being built by carriers such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless, iPhone users would have a faster connection for data-heavy tasks such as browsing the Web, watching videos and downloading files.
Cupertino, California-based Apple, the world's most valuable company, fell to $587.44 at the close in New York. The shares have risen 45 percent this year. Qualcomm, after disclosing its supply shortages late yesterday, fell 6.6 percent to $62.57 today.
Verizon Wireless, the second-biggest U.S. phone network, said iPhone sales fell to 3.2 million from 4.3 million in the previous quarter, when the 4S model was released.