The release of the much-anticipated new phone will probably be delayed until December, wrote Wedbush analyst Dan Ives in a note on Monday, noting lingering supply chain issues and disruptions to Apple's normal planning and design processes. Ives placed a low probability of 10% to 15% that the 5G phone will launch in the fall as originally planned.
Apple shares were up 5.88% on Monday to $255.60 amid a broader market rally tied to signs that coronavirus new infections were slowing.
Ives' note squares with a prior report from Nikkei Asian Review, which said that Apple was weighing a launch delay amid sinking global demand for smartphones and ongoing supply chain hurdles.
The stakes are high with Apple's 5G iPhone, which is broadly viewed as one of Apple's most important product launches in years.
"Apple has one shot at its first 5G launch and tepid success out of the gates due to a lukewarm consumer appetite would be a disaster scenario that further plays into the mindset of Cook & Co. as they ponder the potential timing of this flagship product rollout," Ives wrote.
The iPhone giant is also expected to release a new entry-level phone well before the fall, and perhaps imminently. Apple's retail stores outside of China are closed, but the company still sells its devices online.
Last week, the blog 9to5Mac reported that Apple is calling the new budget phone the iPhone SE, sharing a name with a prior model released in 2016. Apple plans to open up orders for the new phone soon, and will price that phone in the ballpark of $399 and up, according to reports.
Ives said that Apple views the new iPhone SE as a relatively low volume, low-touch release and that the phones are already ready for shipment. Wedbush expects those phones to ship roughly between 20 million and 25 million in the next six to nine months.