If buyers of subsidized smartphones are increasingly turning to low-cost iPhone options or cheaper non-Apple products, the fourth quarter of 2012 might indicate the peak of handset subsidies paid by carriers.
Such a scenario would turn Apple's relationship with the likes of Verizon and AT&T from a money-making machine to a growth drag. It would also clear the air on a hazy outlook for the telecom sector.
Watch Apple and AT&T's guidance, in addition to analyst and investor commentary to see if language surrounding the direction of subsidies points to a fourth quarter 2012 peak.
For more on Apple's shares, see why investor amnesia might make the company an obvious 2013 valueFollow @agara2004 -- Written by Antoine Gara in New York
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV