Wall Street number crunchers have forecast that failing to launch the new iPhone in a timely manner could have a serious impact on Apple’s earnings in the next quarter.
According to Tony Sacconaghi, an analyst with Bernstein Research, the Cupertino-based giant will miss its quarterly guidance set by Wall Street if it fails to meet an annual refresh cycle for the iPhone 5.
"Of all the quarters, this is the one that seems to have widest range of opinion," said Tim Lesko, portfolio manager at Granite Investment Advisors.
"I expect Apple to beat Apple's guidance, but I don't know whether they will beat Wall Street's guidance."
Last year, Apple missed its fourth-quarter target – its first slip in years – after it delayed the launch of a new iPhone from summer to autumn. The company's performance at that time was also squeezed by the fact that the handset was an iterative update than a full-fledged sequel many had anticipated.
It is unlikely history will repeat itself, as Apple’s sixth-generation kit looks on course to drop sometime in September or October – almost exactly a year after the launch of the 4S.
In any case, Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee doesn’t believe that even lower-than-expected quarterly revenue will have an adverse affect on the company in the long run.
"Big picture, it doesn't matter," said Wu. "They are still the share gainer in the larger scheme of things. This is clearly a timing issue."
Apple is most likely to announce the iPhone 5 within weeks, if not days, of releasing final version of iOS 6, also due for an autumn rollout.