With Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference being just a few weeks away, we have reached that point in the year again when speculation and conjecture surrounding the launch of the next-generation iPhone increases dramatically. Historically, Apple have used their developer conference in San Francisco to showcase new iPhone releases, but that trend was broken last year when the Cupertino company decided to launch the current model, the iPhone 4S, in October rather than June.
It looks extremely unlikely that this year’s WWDC will bring any iPhone hardware goodness, but if analysts are to be believe then the announcement of the sixth-generation iPhone may not be that far off. Analyst Shaw Wu, who is a member of the Sterne Agee team, produced text for his clients today that noted Apple has reduced orders for the current iPhone with their supplies by up to 25 percent. With Apple shipping more than 35 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2012, that would take their estimated sales for this quarter to approximately 28 million.
28 million is still a huge number of iPhones to shift and represents sales figures that most companies would be happy to have. However, with the financial markets predicting that Apple would ship 31 million devices during the same period, the news may come as a shock to investors. Apple also holds enough iPhones in their inventory to satisfy sales demand for a period of between 4 and 6 weeks, which equates to approximately 9 million shiny devices.
In his note to his clients, Wu Wrote:
From our understanding, the reason for the reduction is not demand related but rather due to the upcoming 6th generation iPhone refresh likely in the September-October timeframe. It appears AAPL is opting to be conservative with its suppliers to factor in a potential 2-quarter pause ahead of the refresh and also to manage inventory.
The prediction of a September to October release for the iPhone 5, or the new iPhone as some are predicting it will be called, is nothing new and something that we have been expecting ever since the launch of the iPhone 4S last October. Unlike many other device vendors, has this knack for keeping their hardware on the shelf for at least 12 months – which equates to one whole year – before pumping out any sort of new hardware.
With WWDC fast approaching, it looks as if an iOS 6 announcement could be the only thing that we are treated to by Apple this June.