Apple iPhone 5 Rumors: Still Ping-Ponging

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Could all the chatter about a significant delay for Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone 5 be overblown?

Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White, currently visiting tech companies in Taiwan and China, says yes.

"We are increasingly becoming suspicious around continued reports of a delayed iPhone 5 launch into September/October versus the typical June/July time frame," he wrote in a research note Friday.
Will the iPhone 5 be delayed? No one really knows.

With Apple apparently eschewing its traditional June iPhone launch, speculation abounds that the device may not appear until the fall.

White, however, is not convinced. "There is a pattern of activity in motion within the supply chain that makes us question a delayed launch," he wrote. "We believe Apple is keeping its iPhone 5 cards extra close to the vest on this launch to avoid a falloff in iPhone 4 demand ahead of a refresh, especially given the February launch of the CDMA iPhone 4 with Verizon ( VZ) ."

Apple has given little indication of its iPhone 5 launch plans. The press release for its June Worldwide Developers' Conference (WWDC), typically an iPhone event, makes no reference to new hardware. "At this year's conference we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, in the statement.

Concerns about an iPhone 5 delay as well as the Nasdaq's recent decision to cut its Apple weighting, have pressured the company's shares. Apple's stock is down 7% since its all-time high of $363 in February, slowing its meteoric rise of the last few years.

It has been suggested that a delayed iPhone 5, coupled with increasing competition from Google ( GOOG) Android phones, could prove problematic for Apple's market share.

iPhone sales, though, don't show many signs of slowing. Apple sold a record 16.2 million iPhones during its recent fiscal first quarter, an increase of 86% compared to the same period last year. Since then, the tech giant started selling an iPhone on Verizon's network, marking the end of AT&T's ( T) exclusive U.S. iPhone deal.

Verizon says that it will not release its iPhone sales figures until its first-quarter results later this month, although the telecom giant said that it sold more of the phones during the launch than any other product in the company's history.

Estimates say that 1 million Verizon iPhones were sold on its debut weekend, and Bernstein Research predicts that Verizon will sell 11 million iPhones this year.

With the iPhone providing a sizable chunk of Apple's revenue growth, investors hope the company answers questions on its iPhone 5 strategy when it discusses its second-quarter results after market close on April 20.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers.

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