iPhone 6 on September 9? Apple faces lofty expectations

iPhone 6 on September 9? Apple faces lofty expectations

Summary: Apple has a number of plates spinning ahead of its iPhone 6 event. What the Wall Street analysts are saying gives an insight into what the iPhone maker is juggling ahead of its next smartphone's launch.

(Image: CNET/CBS Interactive)

Apple is to hold its iPhone 6 launch event on September 9, according to a new report out on Tuesday.

This took us a little by surprise, considering a number of reports have pointed to the iPhone and iPad maker gearing up for an earlier (or even later) launch — much at the mercy of the carrier upgrade cycle and industry pressures from Asian manufacturers.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant has not confirmed the report, but has reportedly booked space in neighboring San Francisco to hold the event.

Apple still has a number of juggling balls in the air, ahead of the anticipated launch of its newest smartphone. As the iPhone accounts for more than 55 percent of the company's sales, combined with a very dry pipeline in the first-half of the calendar year, Apple can't afford to fluff it up.

Here's what Wall Street analysts are saying.

Forget iWatch. iPhone 6 to be the "main catalyst"

As Samsung and other rival phone makers have expanded into the larger display model, the iPhone 6 will be the "main catalyst" for Apple's year-round sales growth — with a peak in the fiscal fourth quarter, according to SinoPac analyst Frank Kuo.

That three-month period, around the December holiday period, could cause the company to sink or swim, as it typically accounts for the company's greatest sales period in the year. As Apple's smartphone saturation rate hit its peak, appeasing the existing user base will be a major focus for Apple.

Kuo said if Apple were to play its cards right, a larger iPhone will help "boost handset replacement demand" for existing owners, and help Apple win back market share of high-end smartphones from Android.

Eyes on China as a major iPhone 6 growth market

Rumors continue to swirl on exactly what sized devices will be paraded on Apple's launch day.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White said it is "imperative" for Apple to launch the phone in two sizes (as previously rumored) — a slightly larger 4.7-inch device and a phablet-sized 5.5-inch, before the end of the year. 

According to White's research, Apple has to appease not just its existing customers, but also those in China who make up a growing portion of the company's revenue. For some time now, Chinese customers have been looking to rivals to stem their desire for larger devices.

"With the growing popularity of these mega-sized smartphones, we noticed a loss of momentum with the iPhone franchise in China," White wrote in a note to investors. Because Apple has failed to expand the display of its devices beyond the 4-inch limit, demand in China has been slowing. In launching a larger device, it would calm the "pent-up demand" in the country.

China currently accounts for more than 15 percent of the company's revenue. Hitting a home run in mainland China must be high on Apple's priority list.

Apple's "flawed strategy" on failing to maximize sales

Taking the Debbie-Downer approach for Wall Street, one analyst group thinks Apple's entire approach is slowly eroding its competitive streak — meaning arch-rival companies like Samsung are gaining traction.

Indigo analyst Nicholas Landell-Mills said Apple's focus on design and "making the best products," rather than focusing on maximizing sales, means its products risk becoming "niche premium products with low market share, like the Mac."

Calling it a "flawed strategy," Landell-Mills said the fewer sales makes it difficult for the company to reinvest its profits into its products. That said, Apple isn't a small company. It has more than $150 billion in the bank, and could reinvest in its products even if sales collapses. 

He concluded that Apple "remains a hardware company, having failed to evolve sufficiently towards services." While Apple's iTunes, software, and services division has increased in profits quarter-over-quarter, it's still a fraction of the company's income. Those services, such as the iTunes and App Stores, iCloud storage fees, and in-app purchases, continue to expand year-on-year — but have yet to make any significant headway into an already vast and expansive market.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iOS, iPhone, Smartphones

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  • Put Me Down For The Biggest iPhone 6 They Offer...

    The iPhone 5S was a total ripoff so I stayed with my iPhone 5.

    Us guys with big hands need bigger phones, but Android sucks.

    Samsung makes great televisions, but their Galaxy phones are cheap, plastic, POSes!
    • That would be an iPad micro

      The forthcoming iPhone will be no different than an iPad Mini. Same software, same old feature set. At least Android Manufacturers try to differentiate their Hardware and Software realizing that One size does not fit everyone. Bring on the Note 4 and I'll be a Happy Camper!
      • You were flagged lol.

        Dude you basically told the truth and got flagged for it lol.
        Deshawn Greenfield
        • Android is POS no matter how U slice it

          Android's poor ecosystem, many 2nd rate apps, fragmentation, 99% of all smart phone malware, messy UI and customizing confusing dreck - pinch me I'm "dreaming!" Or is that nightmare?
          • It's quite obvious...

            You're trolling.
          • It's even more obvious...

            You're just another cheapskate BOGOFtard Fandroid sSheep. Try a little true objectivity in your life for once.
      • I would like to see if

        if any compay can make a smart phone as a credit card (size and weight), it should be a big sale.

        Portability is the key for a smart phone
    • Don't know about the size of the rest of you, organdy, but.....

      ....I've observed that many obese folks tend to favor big phones (and big cars). It'd be interesting to see if there is a correlation between body size and phone size.
      • so fat people want fat phones? lol

        me remember when had a big old bulky cell phone when lots of people were into those rinky dinky teenie weenie skinny flip phones. people laughed at my bulky nokia. now, look at how people want big humungus phones that don't even fit in your pocket. it's like evolution gone wacko. lol
      • Are you obese?

        ...or do you only like to comment on others perceived faults to make you feel good about yourself and minimize your own?
        Rann Xeroxx
      • You must be female

        I like my iPhone but wish it were bigger. I mistype everything and it's not due to obesity. Guys with real man-sized hands know the problems the tiny iPhone screen poses.

        Now, dudes who wear sweaters or rugby shirts loosely tied around their necks, a gallon of hair gel in their hair and sunglasses propped up on their foreheads while they sit in Starbucks typing away on MacBook Airs probably won't have this problem. Those coddled and well-manicured teenage girl sized hands apparently work just fine with the iPhone.
        • @mooseboulders

          Hear, hear, brother!
        • I believe that is the target audience.

          You have pretty well described the target audience for Apple products. I tend to use only a little bit of gel in my hair though, it is my regular glasses that are propped on my forehead due to not needing them to read (15/20 near vision at 60), I prefer Dutch Bros. coffee, wear a sports jersey and type away on my Surface Pro. My hands are big enough to handle a Ruger M-77 Sniper Rifle and the nails are chipped and darkened from working on my antique car collection. I guess that is why all my Apple purchases are for other members of the family. And they ALL STILL borrow my Linux and Windows machines to do stuff on!!
          The Heretic
      • Different view

        Most of the people I see with large phones are petit Asian women. I'm guessing you live in some hick village in Tennessee?
    • Get a large Lumia 1520

      It is light years ahead of iOS boring icon interface. Way more robust than plastic Android devices. Literally every tech review is positive about the Lumia 1520.
      Sean Foley
      • My Last MS Phone Made More Phone Calls While In My Pocket Than I Did!

        My Windows mobile HTC phone also:

        * Got 30-minutes of battery life

        * Had a crappy resistive touch screen

        * Crashed at least once per day, but usually more

        * Had reception so terrible that no one could understand what I was saying

        And it only cost 800 bucks!

        Just the thought of ever owning another phone with MS software gives me the heeby jeebies.
        • You forgot to mention one issue

          that it was also an imaginary phone.
        • Windows Mobile?

          You realize that hasn't existed for 4 years?

          FYI, Windows Phone /= Windows Mobile

          Windows Phone is on par if not better than iOS and Android in usability, including the hardware. You should join the rest of us in the year 2014, not 2006.
          • Actually Windows Phone 7

            Was Wndows Mobile, with a crappy User Interface. They didn't change the underlying OS till Windows Phone 8. Te only way you ca tell, you cannot upgrade the OS (WP 7, to WP 8). Don't you hate when Facts make you look silly?
            I hate trolls also
          • Well...

            That is a respectable opinion, but Windows phones are not exactly better. It has comparable hardware, and a good live tile system. I also heard some models have the best camera. They do not however, have as many apps as the competition nor have the best interface. Apple iOS offers the most apps that are proprietary and is much more user friendly (not geek friendly). Android is far more robust and complete with options to customize to your liking.