Shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) fell 0.4% to $160.82 on Tuesday after the tech giant said its high-end 10th anniversary iPhone X would ship Nov. 3. Pre-orders for the phone, which starts at $999, begin on Oct. 27.
Apple unveiled the three models -- the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X -- as part of its big annual event on Tuesday. Leading up to the event, Wall Street was cautioning that the premium iPhone might not become available until later this year due to supply constraints tied to the model's organic LED screen. The iPhone 8 and the 8 Plus, which start at $699 and $799, respectively, didn't encounter those issues, since both feature traditional LCD screens. Those phones can be ordered starting Sept. 15 and will start shipping a week later.
Now, the iPhone X's later-than-expected ship date is likely to re-amplify analysts' concerns about iPhone sales. as well as average selling prices (ASPs), in the December quarter. According to several analysts, sales estimates will probably come down as a result of the ship date, which CFRA Research analyst Angelo Zino called the "biggest negative to come out of the event."
"It could provide some downside to consensus estimates," Zino said in a phone interview. "Ultimately, there's not much of an impact when it's all said and done on fiscal year 2018. What it really does is it takes potential sales out of the December quarter and throws it into the March quarter." Apple's fiscal year ends in September.
Wall Street is looking for Apple to bring in about $62.1 billion in iPhone sales during the fiscal first quarter, compared to just over $54 billion in the 2016 first quarter. Zino noted that the real impact of the delayed shipping date could materialize in iPhone ASPs because the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are much cheaper than the iPhone X. Analysts may have already baked in the iPhone X's $1,000 price tag into their ASP estimates, but with that phone not shipping until November, ASP estimates could be lowered, Zino noted.
"I don't expect as much of a favorable mix on selling prices in the December quarter," Zino said. "There will be a greater bump in the March quarter."
Longtime Apple analyst Gene Munster agreed that the fiscal 2018 second quarter, which ends in March, will see a lift. That said, it shouldn't hurt Apple that much overall, he noted.
"It doesn't fundamentally change the outlook for the iPhone X," Munster said. "[Estimates] will shift. My guess is Street numbers come down 5% to 10%, but then they'll be added back in March."
"So it's a wash at the end of the day," Munster concluded.
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