"This year's iPhone launch is likely to be later, towards the August/September timeframe," Barclay's Capital analyst Ben Reitzes wrote in a research note Tuesday.
Concerns about Apple's iPhone 5 missing at the traditional June launch as well as a re-balancing move in the Nasdaq-100 index have been a knock on Apple shares recently.
Reducing Apple's prominence in the Nasdaq-100 to 12% of the index value from 20% has nothing to do with the business of selling sleek gadgets, but it is expected to put some selling pressure on the stock as money managers adjust their Apple holdings to match the Nasdaq-100.Apple shares are down 7% since an all-time peak of $363 in February. One of the leading worries is that the Apple iPhone has been knocked off its throne by a bunch of new, muscular Google (GOOG) Android phones. The dated iPhone 4 and the potentially-delayed iPhone 5 threaten to put Apple in a catch-up mode as rivals release big-screen, super-speedy 4G LTE phones. Barclay's Reitzes noted that Apple's been "very methodical with its annual product launches" and therefore is not likely to skip the new iPhone cycle entirely this year. A later release date may give Apple time to get on board with the 4G movement or possibly launch a new service like a long-awaited music streaming offering, Reitzes wrote. Unfortunately, much of Apple's growth momentum rides on the iPhone. Last week, checks at Verizon (VZ) stores by BTIG analyst Walt Piecyk showed that the new 4G LTE Thunderbolt phone from HTC was outselling the iPhone 4 in some locations, according to a report on Boy Genius. The stiffer competition from Androids and the lull before the next iPhone could translate to some market share loss for Apple before the new sales rush begins, analysts noted. Apple shares were down 0.38% to $339.92 in late morning trading Tuesday. --Written by Scott Moritz in New York.
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