DJs on the local radio morning show earlier today were babbling about Apple officially announcing that the iPhone 5 -- along with the iPad Mini and new iPods -- will be announced at a special event on September 12 (or the week of September 9, rumor varies). They even said that Apple is taking pre-orders now, and that if customers don't dump money on the new phone right this minute, they won't be able to purchase the gadget until way into October.
Curious, we jumped on the news machine and discovered no confirmation from Apple whatsoever. Right now it's all "unnamed sources" spilling insider information to sites such as The Wall Street Journal, All Things D and others. The phone itself is supposedly slated for a September 21 release, and so far there's no word of when exactly the rumored 7-inch iPad tablet will hit retail shelves although there's talk it may hit the market at the same time.
Backing up the pseudo-confirmations is Apple's latest 10-Q filing which reveals a spike in its prepayment for inventory components. According to the chart, it rose $1.15 billion sequentially in the June quarter. That's a significant increase claims Wells Fargo Securities analyst Maynard Um, the highest in four years and supposedly 12.6-percent of Apple's total sales. This spike points to an extremely large product launch, or the launch of numerous gadgets.
"Historically, such increases have been followed by a solid ramp-up in revenue in the following 2-3 quarters," Um said in a Monday note to clients. "In our view, an increase in inventory component prepayment may suggest that Apple is securing supply for potential new product launches."
Another financial pointer seemingly paving the way for September's big reveal can be seen in Apple's Q3 results. The company told investors that revenue in the September quarter will be down 4-percent compared to June, but Apple expects only 38.5-percent gross margin compared to more than 42-percent seen in the previous quarter. As a result, Apple shares declined more than 5-percent in after-market trading, thus sparking a stock sell-off.
As iMore points out, Apple did something similar last year just before the launch of its iPhone 4S. The company guided down on margin in the September quarter only to come out significantly ahead. The iPhone 4S wasn't responsible for the better numbers because it didn't launch until October. What helped Apple was back-to-school promotions and volume reduction due to the upcoming launch.
As stated earlier this week, Apple is seemingly already trying to reduce the current volume of iPhone 4 smartphones by offering rock-bottom prices, thus making room for new phones. Even more, if the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini actually launch at the end of September, the surge in sales will have a massive effect on the current quarter. Stock value will surge as well.
So there you have it. Apple's has not officially confirmed the September press event, but will likely do so soon. There are numerous sources "confirming" the event, indicating that it's not just another rumor to heat up a boring Wednesday. There also seems to be one general consensus stemming from all sources: Apple will focus on connectivity shared between all iOS devices, and its iTunes Match service.