Is Apple's Next iPhone Closer Than You Think?

Rumors surfaced last week that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) might possibly delay the launch of its next-generation iPhone because of supply constraints over 28-nanometer components, causing shares of the Mac maker to lag on a day that the Dow was up more than 250 points.

The latest talk out of iMore is now that Apple will be holding a special event in just over a month, on Sept. 12. The next iPhone will supposedly be unveiled that day, with a full-blown launch just nine days later on Sept. 21. Also on the rumor deck are the fabled iPad Mini, a new iPod nano, and potentially even a new iPod touch.

If true, that would be slightly earlier than last year's unveiling, which took place on Oct. 4, with Steve Jobs dying the very next day. This year's model is expected to be a major upgrade, which is already causing many prospective buyers to hold off and led to Apple's relatively soft third-quarter results last week.

Much as talk of a late iPhone launch held shares back before, today's talk of an earlier launch are boosting Apple's shares, which now stand up roughly 2% while the broader market is mostly flat as of this writing. One reason last year saw such a late launch was that Apple launched the Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) model earlier in the year, so putting some distance between the two would mitigate the risk of putting off early Verizon iPhone buyers that just signed a two-year contract.

The next iPhone can't get here soon enough for Apple as competition from the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android army intensifies with a vengeance, most notably from frenemy Samsung. The South Korean conglomerate sold an estimated 50.2 million smartphones in the second quarter, according to estimates from researcher IDC. That's nearly double the 26 million iPhones that Apple sold, causing Apple market share to fall a couple points relative to last year while Sammy's surged higher to nearly a third of the smartphone market.

Vendor

Q2 2012 Units

Q2 2012 Market Share

Q2 2011 Units

Q2 2011 Market Share

Samsung 50.2 million 32.6% 18.4 million 17%
Apple 26 million 16.9% 20.4 million 18.8%
Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) 10.2 million 6.6% 16.7 million 15.4%

Source: IDC. Note: Only top three smartphone vendors shown.

Nokia's share has fallen into the single digits as its unit shipments declined while the overall market soared by 42% to 153.9 million units.

Samsung has been executing incredibly well over the past year, and the numbers speak for themselves. Even if supply is constrained because of component shortages, Apple needs to get the iPhone out the door post-haste.

The next iPhone is expected to see unprecedented upgrade activity among users, which is one reason Apple still has upside. For more, sign up for this brand-new premium research service that's all Apple, all the time. Meanwhile, there's another smartphone and tablet component supplier that's much less affected by the aforementioned shortages and is leveraging that into market-share gains. This special free report will tell you all about it.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Verizon Communications and Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google and Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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