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Apple Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) is rumored to delay the launch of its highly anticipated iPhone 8 according to Digitimes, which quoted a Chinese-language report from Economic Daily News (EDN). Per EDN “technical issues related to the lamination process of curved OLED panels and the adoption of a 3D sensing system” may be the reason behind the delay.

Apple usually launches new iPhone in the month of September, which enables the company target the holiday season business. Hence, a delay to October/November can have serious repercussions on Apple’s shipment ability during the busy season. This will eventually hurt its market share, top-line growth and share price momentum. (Read More: Apple Roundup: iPhone Still Drives Apple Shares)

According to latest Gartner data, Apple surpassed Samsung to become the #1 global smartphone vendor in fourth-quarter 2016, primarily driven by robust sales of iPhone 7 and 7s, which were launched in Sep 2016. (Read More: Apple Becomes Highest Smartphone Seller after 8 Quarters)

We note that since the launch of iPhone 7 on Sep 16, Apple stock has returned 25.3% as compared with S&P 500’s gain of 9.8%.

 



iPhone: Apple’s Key Catalyst

Apple is hugely dependent on iPhone for reporting top-line growth. In the last quarter total unit sales increased 5% year over year to 78.3 million. The device contributed more than 69% of Apple’s total revenue and revenues grew 5% from the year-ago quarter. Moreover, total revenue increased 3.3% to $78.4 billion, which easily topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $76.9 billion.
 

Apple Inc. Revenue (TTM)

 

Apple Inc. Revenue (TTM) | Apple Inc. Quote

We note that the expectations regarding the upcoming iPhone 8 (or iPhone X) are humongous, as it will mark the tenth anniversary of the first iPhone. Apple is anticipated to make a big innovation leap with this new edition phone, with rumored features like a glass body, a dual curved edge-to-edge OLED display with a built-in Touch ID sensor, wireless charging (USB-C) and higher storage options.

Reportedly, iPhone 8 will be the first iPhone to support AMOLED (active matrix organic light-emitting diode) display. Per reports the company has ordered nearly 70 million OLED screens from Samsung Electronics. Moreover, it is rumored that the premium model of iPhone 8 will be priced at more than $1,000. (Read More: Apple Reportedly Orders 70M OLED Screens from Samsung)

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Currently, Apple carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the broader market are Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) , 3D Systems (DDD - Free Report) and Adobe Systems (ADBE - Free Report) , all three carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Long-term growth rates for Alphabet, 3D Systems and Adobe are currently pegged at 16.25%, 17% and 18%, respectively.

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