For those of you who can’t get enough iPhone news: The new model will be “similar in size and shape to [the] current one” and will go into production this quarter The Wall Street Journal reports citing “people familiar with the device’s production.” The paper adds that later this year Apple will offer a low-priced iPhone. Like the existing models, it will have a four-inch screen but with a different casing and colors. What else can the Journal tell us about the new iPhones and how they’ll differ from the iPhone 5 which was introduced in September? The paper says that information “remains unclear” — journalism jargon for “we don’t know.” Apple could use some upbeat news. Rival phone makers including Samsung and others using Google’s Android platform have been gaining ground on the iPhone. Apple’s shares closed today at $429.90 — down 19.4% so far in 2013, and -38.9% since mid-September. Today Goldman Sachs analyst Bill Shope cut Apple from the company’s “conviction list” and slashed the price target 12.9% to $575 although he still rates the stock a “buy.”
David Bloom is a contributor to Deadline.
Samsung Mobile just unpacked its next flagship smartphone, christening it the Galaxy S4 and loading it with improved technical specs and nifty functions the company hopes might entice high-end users away from Apple’s iPhone and other competitors. Streamed lived to some 400,000 people over YouTube from New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, the Galaxy S4 announcement increases pressure on Apple and others to improve their own flagship smartphones, particularly to meet stiff competition in faster-growing overseas markets.
UPDATE, 1:25 PM: Apple ended the day at $485.92, -3.2% — the stock’s lowest closing price since February 8, 2012. The performance stood in contrast to the slight rise in both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500. Investor concerns about how much and how quickly Apple can grow are sure to weigh on CEO Tim Cook as he prepares to talk with analysts on January 23, when the company releases its earnings for the last three months of 2012.
That’s a real possibility, and a potential milestone for a three-month period during which the consumer electronics company has declined more than 28% from its 52-week high of $705. Apple‘s down about 1% in early trading today to $506, the lowest it’s been since February. Investors fear that iPhone 5 sales are short of expectations following reports, including several last week, that Apple has cut orders from its suppliers. That’s one reason Citi just downgraded Apple to “neutral” from “buy,” and cut the price target to $575 from $675. Although the reports from suppliers are “inconclusive,” analyst Glen Yeung says that they “bring into question the strength of iPhone 5 and refocus investors onto risks in the Apple story.” The company tried to reassure the market today, disclosing that it has sold more than 2M iPhone 5s in China in the three days after its December 14 launch there. “iPhone 5 will be available in more than 100 countries by the end of December, making it the fastest iPhone rollout ever,” it says.
We see conflicting reports today out of China. Rights group China Labor Watch says that “multiple iPhone 5 production lines from various factory buildings were in a state of paralysis for the entire day” yesterday after as many as 4,000 production workers at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory went on strike. Employees objected to the company’s requirement that they work on the country’s National Day holiday that runs from October 1 to October 8, and its failure to train them to produce phones that meet its standards, the group reports. Workers also said that design defects make it difficult to fulfill requirements that phones have no scratches on frames and back covers, and no indentation of more than 0.02 mm. That led to fights between production workers and quality control inspectors., “This strike is a result of the fact that these workers just have too much pressure,” says CLW Executive Director Li Qiang.
This had to hurt. Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged this morning that his company’s Maps product — which replaced Google Maps in the new iPhone 5 and iOS 6 operating system — “fell short” of his company’s standards. “We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better,” he said in a public letter. Cook’s mea culpa follows widespread reports across the Internet from people who became lost after relying on the Apple app for travel directions. For example, New York Times writer David Pogue wrote this week that he used his iPhone to reach a speaking engagement, but “When the app told me that I had arrived, I was sitting in a random suburban cul-de-sac.” Cook says that “The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get.” But he added that, in the meantime, they can download map apps from competitors including Bing, MapQuest, Waze, Google, and Nokia.
That has to be a real concern for the company today: Apple sold 5M units in the smartphone’s opening weekend in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK, it said today. That means demand for iPhone 5 already exceeds the supply. Some people who pre-ordered will have to wait until next month to receive them, Apple says. And production could slow after the phone’s manufacturer, Foxconn Technology Group, shut a factory today in China following fights that Bloomberg says involved as many as 2,000 workers with 40 people hospitalized. A Foxconn spokesman wouldn’t say whether the plant makes iPhone 5 parts. Meanwhile iPhone 5-mania is just beginning: The new smartphone will be offered in 22 additional countries beginning Friday, and will sell in more than 100 countries by year-end. Apple CEO Tim Cook says this morning that although “we have sold out of our initial supply, stores continue to receive iPhone 5 shipments regularly and customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough iPhone 5s for everyone.”
Apple has asked a judge for an additional $535 million in its U.S. patent fight with Samsung Electronics Co. A jury last month awarded Apple $1.05 billion in ruling that Samsung had willfully violated 5 of 7 …
Hey Hollywood, don’t be surprised if your staffers show up late or disappear longer for lunch today because they’re trying to score the new faster and sleeker and longer battery life iPhone 5. Lines from New York to Tokyo, San …
Apple shares only moved up 0.3% today. But it was enough to push the stock to $701.91, a new record. The ascent follows the company’s announcement yesterday that it had more than 2M pre-orders for its iPhone …
The leakers were right: Apple‘s new iPhone (yes, it’s called iPhone 5) is taller and slimmer than previous models — it’s 7.6 mm thick. It’s also 20% lighter than the previous iPhone 4s. It has a 4-inch screen which can accommodate a 5th row of icons. It works with 4G LTE wireless networks including Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint and multiple providers overseas. It’s powered by a new chip, called A6, that’s smaller but more potent than the previous A5 chip. Even so, Apple says that the battery can last 8 hours during 3G talk time and browsing, 10 hours for Wi-Fi browsing and video watching, 40 hours playing music, and 225 hours on standby. The camera has modes to work better in low light and stitch images together to create a panorama view. The front camera can take 1080p HD video with image stabilization. The phones have a smaller connector, and adapters. They’ll run the iOS 6 operating systems. Apple confirms that it’s replacing Google Maps with its own Maps app that can handle turn-by-turn navigation. Users can use the Siri voice command feature to create and post messages for Facebook. Phones will come in two colors: black and white. No change in pricing from the iPhone 4s: $199 for 16 Gb of memory, $299 for 32 Gb, and $399 for 64Gb. The iPhone 4s will be available for free with new or renewed phone subscriptions. The iPhone 5 will be released September 21; consumers can pre-order on September 14. Apple expects the iPhone 5 to be in 100 countries by year end. It’s also refreshing iTunes: iCloud will be built in.
Apple CEO Tim Cook may find it hard to wow tech fans at his long awaited event tomorrow (10:00 AM PT) considering how much they already know — or at least seem to know — about the expected unveiling of the iPhone 5. Our sister site, BGR, reports that the phone likely will be slightly thinner and taller than previous models. It will have a four-inch display (up from 3.5 inches), access to 4G LTE networks, 1 Gb of RAM, a more powerful processor, and a new proprietary mini dock connector. Others also expect to see Apple ditch Google Maps and load its own map feature with turn-by-turn navigation, and built-in apps for Facebook and Yelp. Apple likely will promote the entertainment capabilities of the device. The larger screen should continue to have 326 pixels per inch, bringing it to 1,136 by 640 from 960 by 640 pixels. That could “revive the market for on-demand mobile TV and video,” says Ian Fogg, who’s senior principal analyst for mobile at IHS.