Market Overview

A Curved Apple iPhone More Likely To Come In 2018: Does It Matter For Investors?


Following Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL)'s March event, which was called "reasonably dull" by some analysts, the newest member of the iPhone line was met with moderate applause.

The iPhone SE made news for being smaller, coming in at four inches, and boasting a generally-lower-than-anticipated price tag; however, the specs and timing of the device were largely in line with analyst and investor expectations.

Many have criticized Apple for not presenting anything revolutionary in years, but JPMorgan's Narci Chang reported that a foldable device may be in the works and come to market by 2018.

Still Not A ‘New' Idea

However, while the concept of a foldable phone is revolutionary, it's highly unlikely Apple will be the pioneer of this innovation either. SAMSUNG ELECTRONIC KRW5000 (OTC: SSNLF) is already slated to release a foldable smartphone this year.

Related Link: The Street Was Surprised By Apple iPhone SE's Price Tag

Furthermore, JPMorgan issued a cautionary word of warning. Apple may be trying to push its device out as early as next year, but it will probably not come to fruition within that timeframe.

Chang stated, "According to an AppleInsider report dated March 27, 2016, Apple has plans to introduce a new high-end iPhone model in 2017 that sports a curved 5.8-inch AMOLED display and a ‘glass sandwich casing.'

"Also, investors have been concerned that the future ‘foldable' display might not adopt the metal casing, which could be a headwind to Catcher. We [disagree] with these speculations," Chang wrote.

JPMorgan's Rod Hall commented, "We have never seen the theory that Apple would make an uncharacteristic form factor change in 2017 as credible. We do, however, believe Apple needs to move on OLED to keep up with Samsung in the form factor arena."

AppleInsider Speculations

According to the aforementioned AppleInsider report, Apple is intending to make its device stand out against competitors' foldable devices. "Apple is looking to implement exotic materials to further differentiate iPhone from a sea of competitors. (KGI analyst Ming-Chi) Kuo expects Apple to choose glass for its new case design as the material is easy to mold and boasts properties that facilitate thin-and-light form factor designs."

The article concluded, "The special model, thought to serve as a keystone in 2017's iPhone lineup, is expected to keep Apple in the running with competitors who use similarly exotic materials in their flagship smartphones. By launching next year, Apple will have fresh product on offer during the usual ‘S' cycle refresh window, which normally brings internal buffs but little to no aesthetic change."

Investors will likely gain a better perspective on how this entrance into the form factor arena will influence the stock as details continue to emerge and a timeline is established.

At time of writing, Apple was up 1.52 percent at $106.79.


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