Apple seldom discusses upcoming product launches ahead of time, but made an exception on its third-quarter earnings call.
Apple CFO Luca Maestri said its upcoming iPhone 12 lineup will be "available a few weeks later" compared to last year. Apple typically announces new iPhones in mid-September, with phones hitting shelves a week or two later, but production delays tied to the COVID-19 pandemic have reportedly slowed things down.
It wasn't totally clear from Maestri's remarks if the delay would affect the timing of the announcement, or just the date that they go on sale. Last year's iPhone 11 lineup hit stores on September 20.
"A year ago, we launched the new iPhone in late September; I was referring to to new phones...this year the supply of the new product will be a few weeks later than that," he said.
Apple did not provide fiscal guidance for the current quarter, which ends September 30. A later-than-normal launch of the iPhone 12 lineup means that revenue from those sales would be pushed off into Apple's fiscal 2021.
A delayed iPhone release will likely affect Apple's fiscal results, according to analysts.
Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall, one of the few Apple bears on Wall Street, estimated recently that a one-month iPhone delay would reduce holiday revenue sales by about 7%, and earnings by about 6%.
For the quarter ending June 30, Apple reported earnings per share of $2.58 (up 18% year over year) and total revenue of $59.7 billion (up 11%), which easily topped consensus estimates of $2.04 and $52.24 billion, respectively.
"Overall, this was as good a quarter as you could have asked for: top and bottom line beats, strength across all segments, and the real outperformance was on the product side of things," CFRA analyst Angelo Zino told TheStreet.
Apple CEO Tim Cook told investors on the conference call that its iPhone results, which came in at $26.42 billion versus consensus estimates of $22.2 billion, were driven by better-than-expected sales in May and June and strong early sales of the iPhone SE.
"With the iPhone SE, it's also clear from the early data that we’re seeing a high switcher number," Cook said, referring to Android users buying iPhone SE. "iPhone 11 is still the most popular smartphone, but iPhone SE definitely helped out results...we do see that continuing into this quarter."
Boosted by the current work-from-home environment, Mac and iPad revenue came in at $7.08 billion and $6.58 billion, marking the strongest quarter in years for those two product segments. Wearables revenue growth was in the "strong double digits," Cook said.
Apple also announced a 4-for-1 stock split, its first since June 2014, when the stock split 7-for-1. Depending on where it trades at the end of August, Apple's shares could trade around the $100 mark.
Maestri said the split will make Apple's stock "more accessible to a broader base of investors."
Apple shares were up 28% year to date heading into this earnings session.