Apple's (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report management is famously secretive, meaning analysts have little to go on when it comes to predicting the release date of new models of its flagship device.
Traditionally Apple releases the newest iPhone model in mid-September, but due to supply constraints for the OLED display panel and other components, many analysts were anticipating an iPhone 8 release date in November or even December.
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However, Apple released positive guidance for the 2017 fourth quarter on Tuesday after the close, which includes the months of July through September. The higher figure suggests that the new iPhone model will be released by the end of September, according to Jackdaw Research chief analyst Jan Dawson. Apple guided for sales of $49 billion to $52 billion for the three months through September, while analysts were expecting sales of $49.1 billion.
Apple is expected to release the new iPhone 8 model, as well as updated models of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus this fall. "It's possible that merely means that the standard options will be available in the usual numbers, while the new model will be more supply constrained, but it's hard to see them hitting the numbers at the higher end of the guidance range if the high-end phone isn't available at all in September," Dawson said.
The figure is also telling because it likely shows that Apple expects to sell more iPhones this September quarter than in the year ago period, which would be next to impossible without at least some of the new iPhone models on sale by the end of September, he noted. "That's not to say all models will be on sale or that they'll be available in massive quantities, but it's a good sign that Apple isn't expecting a major departure from its past iPhone sales pattern this September."
Overall, the guidance should calm analyst fears of a significantly delayed release date, which would hurt 2017 fourth quarter and 2018 first quarter sales.
Shares of Apple were surging by 5.40% to a record-high of $158.14 in after-hours trading on Tuesday after the company reported a beat on the top and bottom line. For the past quarter, Apple reported adjusted earnings of $1.67 per share, on revenue of $45.4 billion. Analysts' polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting adjusted earnings of $1.57 per share, on revenue of $44.89 billion.
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