Can Apple maintain its shine for investors?
A key tenet among investors who remain optimistic about Apple: Although the iPhone 5 is too expensive, buyers will shift their attention to the older Apple phones, which they find "good enough.''
Analyst Andy Hargreaves at Pacific Crest Securities says demand for new iPhone models is going to falter. Last week, he downgraded Apple's stock from "Outperform'' to "Sector Perform'' because he believes consumers aren't going to clamor for new hardware features anymore. They'll hang on to older phones longer, and when they buy, they'll buy cheaper models, he says.
This means the total dollar value of the iPhones sold in the quarter may be more indicative than the number of phones sold. Analysts expect the sales were worth $30.8 billion in the quarter, or 56 percent of Apple's overall revenue. Deviations from this figure could cause big movements in the stock price.
There is renewed speculation that Apple could make a cheaper iPhone for the developing world, but most analysts believe the company will stick to its practice of keeping older iPhones in production and cutting their prices as new models come out. The problem is that the price cuts are relatively minor. A two-year-old iPhone 4 costs more than many new Android phones.
When reporting results for the July to September quarter three months ago, Apple shocked Wall Street by saying it expected earnings of just $11.75 per share for the October to December quarter.
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