Apple shares are up more than 6% in pre-market trading after its announcement about the weekend sales — the first that included its new iPhone 5C and 5S. Analysts expected as many as 8M units to be sold worldwide. That would have handily beat the previous opening weekend record of 5M set last year with the release of the iPhone 5. With the new sales figures, Apples says in an SEC filing that it expects its fiscal Q4 revenues to come in “near the high end of the previously provided range of $34 billion to $37 billion” with gross margins “near the high end of the previously provided range of 36% to 37%.” Demand for the iPhones was “incredible,” CEO Tim Cook says, “and while we’ve sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5S, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough new iPhones for everyone.” Unlike last year, people served by T-Mobile and Japan’s DoCoMo were able to buy the new iPhones on the opening weekend. China also was in on the action; last year customers had to wait 90 days for the iPhone 5 outside of the gray market. In addition to the iPhone news, Apple says that more than 200M iOS devices run its new iOS 7 operating system. That makes it …
Investors continued to hammer Apple after it made clear yesterday that it will continue to try to keep profit margins high on its iPhones, and not release a budget-priced model that might help it expand into developing markets. Shares dropped 5.4% to $467.83 today following downgrades from firms including Bank of America, UBS and Credit Suisse. On top of yesterday’s price drop, it translates into a $34.8B decline in the company’s market value since Monday. While investors love the iPhone’s high profit margin, estimated at about 40%, they also wanted the company to go after new buyers overseas, especially in China and India, who might be enticed by a device that costs about $400 (not including a carrier subsidy). Instead, the 5C came with a $549 price tag in the U.S., and about $733 in China. A budget phone was “nowhere to be found” as Apple maintained its focus on “profit share over unit share,” with the 5C expected to generate margins of about 50%, says Cowen and Company’s Timothy Arcuri. Hopes for a big deal with China Mobile at an event today also came to naught: China certified the new iPhones to run on the company’s network, but so far there’s no deal. At an event today the companies played a video of yesterday’s iPhone unveiling in California. But Apple still …
Investors were hoping that a low-priced iPhone would help Apple to expand in developing countries. But shares are -2.8% following a presentation where Apple CEO Tim Cook played up the features of his new iPhone 5C and 5S, but with higher prices than some analysts had anticipated. The company calls the 5S — available in silver, gold, and gray but not black — “the most forward-thinking phone ever made.” It will be the first mobile phone with a 64-bit chip, the A7, which the company says is 40 times faster than the one in the first iPhone and great for gamers. It will have a separate chip to handle an accelerometer to help the iPhone record the kinds of fitness information others provide on dedicated devices. It also boasts an improved battery that can power 10 hours of talk time, 10 hours of LTE browsing, and 250 hours standby. The new camera has a larger sensor, two LED flashes, and automatic image stabilization. A “burst mode” can shoot 10 pictures in a second, and video also can handle 120 frames per second for replay in slo-mo. The company confirmed that the phone will have a fingerprint security sensor, called Touch ID, that’s in the home button. It can learn multiple fingerprints — …
That’s the way things look ahead of tomorrow’s long-awaited product announcement. Just about everybody anticipates two new iPhone models — as well as an updated iOS 7 operating system, and perhaps a Pandora-like Internet music service and a software upgrade for Apple TV — that plug holes in Apple‘s business model but probably won’t dazzle fans who expect the company to dance on technology’s cutting edge. One year after it introduced the iPhone 5, Apple’s iPhone 5S is expected to offer high-end users some modest improvements. It likely will have a more powerful processor, a better camera, fingerprint recognition for security, near field communications, and some new colors. In other words, it will have just enough to reassure iPhone fans that they don’t have to envy Android users who’ll approach the holiday shopping season with several improved choices from manufacturers including Samsung, Motorola, and Sony. But investors will be more interested in the second model, expected to be called iPhone 5C, that Cowen and Co. analyst Timothy Arcuri predicts will be little more than “a glorified iPod Touch with a cellular radio.”
This is actually the second of two agreements this week to upgrade Apple’s much maligned iPhone 5 mapping features, says Bloomberg which disclosed the HopStop acquisition. The app operates in 500 cities, and helps users find the fastest routes to destinations whether they’re walking, driving, or using public transportation. That should complement another agreement Apple made this week to buy Locationary Inc., which uses real-time information to help people find businesses on their phone maps. Apple could use the features: The company was humiliated last year when it introduced its own mapping service, replacing the popular Google Maps. Many people who used the Apple substitute ended up lost, leading some company watchers to wonder whether it had lost its mojo after CEO Tim Cook succeeded Steve Jobs, who died in 2011. Cook apologized for Apple’s map shorctomings last year. HopStop currently produces apps for Apple and Android phones. Last month Google bought Waze, which uses crowdsourcing to provide routing and real-time traffic updates, including police presence, road accidents, speed cameras, and hazards.
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, 3:00 PM: CEO Tim Cook added fuel to the speculation that Apple will come up with a potentially game-changing television. In a call with analysts he said it “remains” a topic of “intense interest for us” adding that “there’s a lot we can contribute in this space.” He declined to provide any details.
PREVIOUS, 1:44 PM: The stock is down more than 8% in after market trading, bringing the price back below $500, as fiscal Q1 results did nothing to ease concerns that Apple‘s starting to lose its marketing pizzazz. Net income at $13.1B was up 1.1% vs the period last year on revenues of $54.5B, +17.7%. The top line figure was just a little short of the $54.7B that analysts expected. Earnings at $13.81 a share topped the consensus of $13.44. The static comes from sales numbers for some of Apple’s top products. The company says that it sold 47.8M iPhones in the quarter, which is up from 37M in the period last year but still shy of predictions of about 49M. Apple also says that it sold 22.9M iPads (vs. 15.4M last year), 4.1M Macs (vs. 5.2M), and 12.7M iPods (vs. 15.4M). “We’re thrilled with record revenue of over $54 billion and sales of over 75 million iOS devices in a single quarter,” CEO Tim Cook says. “We’re very confident in our product pipeline as we continue to focus on innovation and making the best products …
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 Apple patents. Apple has requested a permanent injunction against sales of Samsung’s infringing products. “The harm to Apple was deliberate, not accidental,” Apple attorneys said in court papers filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose. Samsung responded by asking for a new trial.
Talk about lousy timing. Shares in Research In Motion are down 6.5% this afternoon after it reported that BlackBerry users in much of Europe and Africa lost their Internet and email services for as long as three hours. The problem affected about 6% of its customers, RIM chief Thorsten Heins said in a note on the company’s site. “I want to apologize to those BlackBerry customers in Europe and Africa who experienced an impact in their quality of service earlier this morning,” he said. “The BlackBerry service is now fully restored and I can report that no data or messages were lost…We are conducting a full technical analysis of this quality of service issue and will report as soon as it concludes.” The interruption hit just as consumers across the globe lined up for their first chance to put their hands on Apple’s new iPhone 5 — which is sure make inroads among the business customers who had been among the most loyal Blackberry users.
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 Francisco to Sydney (pictured) are reported outside Apple stores selling the bigger screen platform better for watching movies and TV and gaming. (But the new Maps system is said to be a bust…) Already huge crowds jammed stores in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. AP says the first customers in Hong Kong were greeted by employees cheering, clapping, high-fiving, and chanting “iPhone 5! iPhone 5!” as they were escorted one-by-one through the front door. The smartphone is also being launched in the U.S., Britain, Canada, France and Germany. It will go on sale in 22 more countries a week later. But some employees of Apple’s French stores voted to strike today, aiming for maximum impact by timing the walkout to coincide with the debut of the iPhone 5. The strike was called by one of the main unions representing workers at Apple’s stores in Paris and some other French cities after the breakdown of talks over working conditions. Demands by the SUD union, which represents about a quarter of Apple Store employees, included the installation …
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 5 in the first 24 hours — more than twice as many as it received last year when it introduced the iPhone 4S. As a result the company said that demand for the new iPhone “exceeds the initial supply and while the majority of pre-orders will be delivered to customers on September 21, many are scheduled to be delivered in October.” It’s dangerous for investors to follow the crowd. But several analysts say that Apple stock has a long way to go before it runs out of gas. Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu and Scotia Capital’s Gus Papageorgiou have a price target of $780, and Canaccord Genuity’s T. Michael Walkley projects $797.
The 2 million preorders for the new iPhone 5 is a record, Apple said today, doubling the 1 million preorders for iPhone 4S and 600,000 for iPhone 4. Analysts expected sales figures for the first 24 hours of the preorder window, which began at midnight PT on Friday, to be somewhere between 1.3 million-1.5 million. The new phone, unveiled during a presentation by Tim Cook on Wednesday, will officially be available September 21, but the company now says with the demand that some customers’ orders will be delayed into October. That news doesn’t seem to be affecting the stock price, which is up during trading today and flirting with a 52-week high as it nears $700 a share.
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.