What, no white iPhone 4 before the critical holiday shopping crush? Yup, but investors shouldn't fear.
Analysts say a white iPhone 4, which is now set to debut in the spring, would only add incremental sales to the rocket ride Apple experienced with its black iPhones during its fiscal fourth quarter. And the gravy train is unlikely to stop just because there's no white iPhone 4 in the mix, they note.
"That lack of a white iPhone 4 does not seem to be slowing demand at all. If it is, it is very minimal," said Shaw Wu, an analyst with Kaufman Bros, in an email interview. "Keep in mind Apple shipped 14 million iPhones last quarter, the most in its history and more than what Research in Motion [BlackBerry/RIMM] and [Google/GOOG] Android shipped in their latest quarters."
Apple (AAPL) said in early July, as its fiscal fourth quarter got underway, it expected the white iPhone 4 to hit the stores by the end of that month, citing manufacturing challenges. Those difficulties, however, continued through the end of July and Apple had to once again postpone shipping its device, this time until the end of the year.
"Considering they shipped more than 14 million iPhones, you can't say people refused to buy one without a white one," said Stephen Baker, an NPD Group analyst. "At the end of the day, multiple colors are a way to personalize things and add variety. It's more about individuality than adding incremental sales volume."
That assessment also applies to Apple's holiday shopping push. Analysts say it's no biggie that Apple's elusive white iPhone 4 will be absent from retail stores during the busy selling season.
"[It] seems relatively minor," Wu said. "Not sure if having it would really boost demand either, as it would take away from black iPhone [sales]."