Apple’s alleged plans to bring two iPhone 6 models to market in September may have hit a snag. MacRumors reports that the company now plans to ship the new iPhones in October, along with other unnamed products. It could mean a busy month, but it’s unlikely the shift will have any impact on Apple’s retail success or failure.
The report cited the new go date as Oct. 14, quoting a source who referenced a “senior Apple Store leader.”
Last year, Apple announced the iPhone 5S and 5C on Sept. 10 and was selling and shipping the devices to customers before the end of the month.
Apple, of course, is mum on all plans, sitting back and watching as the entire tech and media worlds chase their collective tails.
But Apple CEO Tim Cook promised a busy fall, and SVP Eddy Cue said he hadn’t seen a product pipeline like this in 25 years at Apple. The question remains: How long can Apple wait to give us a date?
Apple tends to make its largest percentage of iPhone sales at the end of the year. In its Q1, 2014 earnings report (which addressed 2013’s last sales quarter and was the first full quarter after Apple announced the iPhone 5S and 5C), Apple sold 51 million iPhones. In its most recent quarter, it sold just over 31 million.
Most mobile phone makers have to ship by late September or early October, said NPD Analyst Eddie Hold. The fourth quarter, which begins Oct. 1 and ends just after Christmas, is when the most customers renew service contracts and trade up to new phones, he added. Manufacturers like to have at least one big draw in play that will pull in customers like a magnet.
If one Android manufacturer doesn’t have a new handset, customers may simply move onto the next manufacturer’s hero product, Hold explained.
Apple is different. Hold doesn’t think this rumored delay — or even a longer one — will make a dent in potential iPhone retail sales.
“If it was any product other than an Apple iPhone, there would be an impact. But Apple can delay the iPhone almost as late as they want to, and there won’t be an impact,” he said.
Hold contends that the iPhone is still such a draw that whenever it ships, people will still line up around the block for it.
What about the sales impact of releasing multiple phones? Apple has run that drill already with the iPhone 5S and 5C; all indications point to the 5S outselling the 5C, but there hasn’t been any indication that unveiling two phones simultaneously adversely impacted sales.
The only bad scenario for Apple would be if Apple announces two products but only ships one, Hold said. Those who want the second product might wait instead of gravitating toward the available one.
More likely, Apple will announce two phones and deliver two phones — or announce one phone and deliver one phone.
As with all Apple rumors, though, it’s best to take this one with a grain (or five) of salt.
Representatives for Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.