We’ve got the run-down on how exactly Sprint is going to launch its first ever Apple product, and it seems pretty intense. Then again, with Apple involved, would you expect anything else? Here’s what’s going to happen… Apple, or an independent contractor, not Sprint, will be coming to all corporate retail locations to set up the iPhone 4S displays in the next few days, most likely Thursday. We’re told that Apple and the company’s team gets to choose where the iPhone 4S displays will go in each store, not Sprint. More after the break. More →
Sprint subscribers who have been waiting since 2007 for their carrier of choice to finally land the iPhone breathed a collective sigh of relief on Tuesday when Apple confirmed that the nation’s No. 3 carrier would soon offer both the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S. Sprint also confirmed on Thursday that it will indeed be offering unlimited data plans to iPhone users, and that pre-sales of the iPhone 4 would begin immediately while iPhone 4S pre-orders start on Friday. BGR sought clarification on the pre-order process following an anonymous tip we received, and Sprint has confirmed that iPhone pre-sales will be accommodated entirely online. Sprint’s retail stores will not have the ability to take iPhone pre-orders, and the carrier also confirmed to BGR that Sprint stores will not offer “Device Wait Lists,” meaning customers cannot add their names to a list in order to be guaranteed a device on launch day. Sprint will begin selling the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on Friday, October 14th.
During Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” press conference in Cupertino, California on Tuesday, Apple confirmed that Sprint will offer the iPhone 4S. Pre-orders for the phone will begin on October 7th and the phone will launch on October 14th. Three models will be sold: a 16GB model for $199, a 32GB model for $299 and a 64GB model for $399, and each model will be available in black or white.
Despite numerous rumors to the contrary, Apple will only launch one iPhone model this fall and it will be a modest upgrade that closely resembles the current iPhone 4. In a note to investors on Wednesday, Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair says that Apple will hold a special event between September 28th and October 5th to unveil several new devices. Only one of those devices will be an iPhone, however, and Blair says it will be an incremental update as opposed to the redesigned iPhone 5 that has been rumored on multiple occasions. Read on for more. More →
In a note to investors on Tuesday, BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk raised his rating on Sprint stock from Sell to Neutral without indicating a new price target. Piecyk had previously set his price target at $3.13, but noted that the stock now trades under five times BTIG’s 2012 earnings estimate, which is below consensus. The firm notes that it is not moving to a Buy rating because Sprint’s stock may fall further still, due to uncertain earnings, high debt leverage, lack of free cash flow and a worrisome 4G strategy. Piecyk believes that Sprint “needs to develop a clear 4G strategy including financing or taking control of Clearwire.” While BTIG did revise its estimates downward based on lower potential margins due to increased roaming costs, increased Network Vision expenses and the potential need for increased handset subsidies, it notes that upcoming events such as the resolution of Sprint’s Clearwire relationship and the potential launch of Apple’s iPhone 5 could have a positive impact on Sprint’s performance.
The launch of Apple’s next-generation iPhone will propel global iPhone sales to 30 million units in the calendar fourth quarter of this year, BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk wrote on Wednesday. BTIG had previously estimated that Apple would sell 21.5 million iPhone handsets in the fourth quarter, but in light of Apple having recently reporting sales of 20.34 million units in the fiscal third quarter, the firm’s previous estimate is almost certainly low. Piecyk also believes Apple may sell more than 10 million iPhones in the U.S. alone in the fourth quarter. AT&T, he says, could sell as many as 5 million Apple phones next quarter thanks to the iPhone 5 launch and the possible continuation of a $50 legacy iPhone model. Verizon could sell as many as 4 million iPhones in the fourth quarter, making up 45% of the carrier’s smartphone sales in the quarter; Piecyk thinks Verizon’s continued success with 4G LTE-enabled Android smartphones will drive total smartphone sales to 9 million units in the quarter. Finally, the analyst sees Sprint launching the fifth-generation iPhone this fall, and he estimates sales of 1.5 million units in the fourth quarter. More →