New iPhone Hardware
Apple's fiscal second-quarter showed renewed interest for the iPhone, as the company earned $11.62 a share, generating $45.6 billion in revenue. Apple gained market share in U.S., the UK, Japan, Canada, Germany, France, Vietnam and Greater China, and other countries, and managed to set a new all-time record for total iPhone sales in the BRIC countries. "We're very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services," Cook said in the press release. He also mentioned that Apple is "eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market."
The new iPhone is particularly important in China, where Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White notes the country is set for a big 4G buildout. "For example, China Mobile has a big 4G TD- LTE device ramp planned for the second half of 2014, and we believe 4G FDD LTE licenses could also be awarded in the fall, which we believe would dovetail well with our expectation of a bigger iPhone 6 (i.e., 4.7- inch and 5.5-inch iPhones)," White wrote in an analyst note.
It's largely expected that the next iPhone will come in two sizes, both a 4.7-inch version and a 5.5-inch version, which may allow it to charge more for a larger phone, given demand for Apple products. On the earnings call, Cook was asked about this factor, and said that Apple would charge a price for its products what it sees as appropriate, but did not commit to a particular price. "We price things that ... are priced in such a way that we think it's a fair price for the value that we're delivering and we make those on each thing as it gets closer time to come to market," Cook stated.
With Samsung's recent launch of the Galaxy S5, Jefferies' Misek believes that monthly builds, as in how many units of product are built per month, for the Google (GOOG) Android-run S5 will be lower than its predecessor, which may benefit Apple. "We believe the combination of pent-up demand for a larger iPhone and possibly less intense competition from Samsung bodes well for the iPhone 6 launch," Misek wrote.
Initial leaked photos have suggested that the next version of the iPhone will have no bezel, allowing users more screen to work with. This is important since Apple introduced Continuity at Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) earlier this month. The program allows users to start an activity (email, document, etc.) on one device and continue working on it on another.
There's also increased speculation about the glass Apple is using for its next iDevices, potentially making them unbreakable. Apple has contracted GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) for its sapphire plant. The Merrimack, N.H.-based company recently gave 2014 guidance, and said it expects revenue to be back-loaded towards the second half of 2014. GT Advanced recently filed an amended 10-Q showing that the $225-million prepayment from Apple is used to retrofit and qualify GT Advanced's Salem, Mass.-based furnace, as well as build out the company's Mesa, Ariz.-based facility. It's possible that the next version of the iPhone uses sapphire for its glass, as sapphire is one of the hardest and most scratch-resistant minerals on Earth.
Outside of the glass and size of the iPhone, it's likely that Apple will include updated versions of its mobile chips. Last year, Apple announced the A7 and M7 chips for the iPhone 5s, with the M7 being used for motion-sensor detection. That fits in well with Apple's recently announced Health app, that will centralize a user's health and fitness data.