By Alexandra Burlacu | Apr 23, 2012 11:21 AM EDT
While many are expecting Apple's sixth-generation iPhone, dubbed iPhone 5, to debut in June, at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, recent reports point to a more likely October release.
Reuters reported that Qualcomm was facing "trouble meeting demand for some of its advance cellphone chips for the rest of the year due to manufacturing constraints," which will "increase operating expenses faster than expected." With such production constraints, an October launch seems more likely. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has also moved his expectations to an October release date.
"At this stage we cannot secure enough supply to meet the increasing demand we are experiencing," said Qualcomm's Chief Executive Paul Jacobs, during a conference call with analysts. This issue would limit revenue growth for this year, Jacobs added.
Apple's next-generation iPhone is expected to feature Qualcomm's MDM9615 LTE (Long Term Evolution) chipset, which allows voice and data connections over faster LTE networks. According to iDownloadBlog, the chip is also smaller and more power-efficient.
Supply Shortage Could Affect LTE Progress in General
The supply shortage involves the chips used for the latest high-speed smartphones featuring LTE technology, which could lead to a slowdown in the rollout of LTE smartphones, Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon told Reuters. Rasgon did not comment on Apple specifically, but said this supply shortage could affect LTE progress in general.
Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster points in the same direction. In a note to investors last week, Munster wrote that even if Apple had indeed wanted to launch the new iPhone before October, such supply constraints with Qualcomm LTE chips would push back the release date. Munster now expects the highly-anticipated iPhone to debut in October, a full year after the launch of the iPhone 4S.
October Launch More Likely
"It is more likely the phone launches in October given Qualcomm commentary around 28nm chip supply," Munster said, as reported by Apple Insider. "We believe Apple will include LTE in the iPhone 5 as an important feature in the product update." The analyst had previously expected an August debut for the sixth-generation iPhone.
On the other hand, Munster wrote in an earlier note that the launch date for Apple's next-generation iPhone is of little concern, considering the demand is "captive." According to the analyst, the new iPhone will be a "compelling" upgrade, unlike the slightly improved iPhone 4S, and would feature a new body design.
(reported by Alexandra Burlacu, edited by Dave Clark)
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