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ITC's iPhone Ban Unlikely to Affect iPhone 5S Release Date (AAPL, T)

ITC's iPhone Ban Unlikely to Affect iPhone 5S Release Date AAPL, T

Those who were hoping that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) would release the iPhone 5S early (which would allow the firm to discontinue the iPhone 4 and replace it with the iPhone 4S) may be disappointed.

ABG Sundal Collier analyst Per Lindberg told Benzinga that, since the ITC's ruling only applies to the United States, Apple is unlikely to adjust its product schedule.

"I don't think it will lead to any changes to Apple's product plans because there are other issues of overwhelmingly greater importance," said Lindberg. "For example, product quality, differentiation, etc."

While Lindberg does not think Apple will adjust its schedule to make up for any losses, Hilliard Lyons analyst Stephen Turner believes that Apple's current plans may coincide with the iPhone 4's ban regardless.

"The ITC ruled Apple infringed a patent held by Samsung," Turner told Benzinga. "The ITC ordered Apple to cease and desist the importing of several AT&T (NYSE: T) modeled devices. These models include the 3G versions of iPhone 3GS and iPad which are no longer sold, the 3G iPad 2 which has minimal sales and the iPhone 4 which has more significant sales. However, the President could veto any action within a 60 day window.

"We note that after window it would be the beginning of August and we expect a new iPhone '5S' to be released shortly thereafter at which time we believe Apple would discontinue the iPhone 4 anyway."

Regardless, investors shouldn't worry. Lindberg does not expect the sales ban will hurt Apple's bottom line.

"That verdict will have very limited impact and it could still be vetoed by President Obama," said Lindberg, echoing Turner's remarks. "That is probably quite material, that verdict."

That said, Lindberg said that the ruling "does signify that there's more and more tension between Apple and Samsung."

"I don't think [the litigation] will end there," Lindberg added. "I think they are very upset with each other and the animosity will escalate."

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: ABG Sundal Collier Apple Hilliard Lyons iPad 2Analyst Color News Analyst Ratings Tech Best of Benzinga


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