|Apple: October iPhone Intro Likely Given QCOM 28-Nano Issues, Says Piper|
By Tiernan Ray
Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster this afternoon reiterates an Overweight rating on shares of Apple (AAPL), while writing that the company’s “iPhone 5,” as yet unannounced, may be introduced in October, like the iPhone 4S last year, based on his “checks,” and based on remarks by Qualcomm (QCOM) in its fiscal Q2 report last night.
Qualcomm had said that it would ship fewer modem chips this quarter than last because of supply issues in getting enough chips tabbed with its foundry partners in smaller feature sizes of 28 nanometers.
One analyst, Citigroup’s chip analyst Glen Yeung, this morning opined that the actual reason for the slip was because of the wait for Apple’s new iPhone.
Munster takes the opposite approach, assuming the constrained 28-nanometer capacity for Qualcomm is forcing Apple to push back its introduction of the phone:
Based on our checks, we believe the design win momentum of QCOM’s 28nm products has been exceptionally strong and a 28nm LTE baseband is likely designed into the next iPhone. QCOM’s supply issue likely pushes the launch of the iPhone to October. Based on the increased capital spending this year from TSMC and QCOM’s efforts over the last quarter to port its 28nm designs to UMC and probably Global Foundries, we think QCOM will have the capacity to support a Q4 LTE iPhone 5 launch. Moreover, the slow wireless infrastructure spending in 1H:12 is also likely a result of the lack of availability of a low power 28nm LTE baseband modem.
Munster implies the timing is somewhat later than some may have expected, as they may have been still thinking there would be an iPhone refresh this summer.
But Munster thinks the timing is actually “irrelevant,” because the iPhone 5 is likely to be “revolutionary” in its industrial design and will be a “compelling update,” he thinks, likely making consensus estimates for an 8% year-over-year increase in iPhone sales in the December quarter too low, in his opinion.
Apple shares today are down $17.75, or almost 3%, at $590.59.
Copyright 2011 Dow Jones & Company,