Apple Inc (AAPL) Can’t Hide From iPhone Delay Rumors Any More

Apple, Inc. (ticker: AAPL), the world’s most valuable public company, is set to report its third-quarter earnings on Aug. 1 after the market close. While forward guidance is always important for investors, Apple’s guidance ahead of its highly-anticipated iPhone 8 launch will likely overshadow its third quarter numbers.

Apple’s 2017 is all about the 10-year anniversary iPhone, but rumors that the iPhone 8 launch could be delayed have once again surfaced this month. Several Wall Street firms, including Bank of America, RBC CapitaL Markets, Cowen, KGI and Drexel Hamilton, have said they expect the iPhone will not hit markets in September as it usually does.

“Our conversations with the Supply Chain suggest the iPhone 8 will ship three to four weeks delayed given technological issues which Apple and its suppliers are working through,” Bank of America analyst Wamsi Mohan wrote earlier this month.

Chinese newspaper the Economic Daily Times recently said the iPhone launch could be delayed until December. According to TrendForce, the rumored delays stem from the fact that certain iPhone 8 models will include OLED screens for the first time, and the machines needed to produce these screens are in short supply. Previous iPhone models had LCD screens.

So far, Apple hasn’t commented on potential iPhone delays, but the company will no longer be able to avoid the issue when it reports its fiscal third-quarter earnings in less than a week.

“Investors will be looking for [September quarter] revenue guidance that indicates the timing of the new phones,” UBS analyst Steven Milunovich wrote on Tuesday. “Since it appears the OLED model won’t be available until possibly November, the real question is whether the LCD models will ship at all in September and if their prices might be reduced by $100.”

UBS projects Apple will guide for fiscal fourth-quarter revenue in the $49 to $51 billion range. Milunovich said any number below $49 billion would be an indication that investors should expect delays, at least in the OLED version of the new devices.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the timing of the iPhone 8, UBS anticipates…

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