I think that Apple is safe to hold back the iPhone 5 for 6-9 months. 4G LTE networks continue to build out while for chipsets, there are power management issues to be addressed.
From a personal angle, the iPhone 5 may appear at T-Mobile if the AT&T acquisition is stopped, taking advantage of its HPSA+ network.
This is a good point, given the recent discussion over the future of HP's PC division which dominates market share but comes with low margins.
As a disclaimer, I'm a happy user of HP, Dell and Apple computers at work and at home.
Rick. There is an aspect in your analysis that requires revision:
"It's also worth noting Apple has not rolled out a low- or even middle-end smartphone to date."
Apple has a very specific policy of marketing on older generation iPhones for mid/low end teir consumers. iPhone 4 will be sold for $99 and 3GS for $0 with 2-year contract.
This is the most effective product tearing strategy I have ever seen. They have teared offering without extra cost of development cycle!
I think Samsung and other serious players are giving a good fight to Apple, but as of now, the decline for Apple is behind the "reasonable prediction horizon". I think the bigger threat to Apple revenue can come from Amazon or Google if they succeed in content offering arena (music, movies,...).
I agree. Every product has a window of opportunity and Apple could not have captured the smart phone market segment forever. They will use the profits they generated in this segment in making better products.
As the smart phone market matures and consumers get more choices the market will become ever more fragmented. Apple is perhaps following the best path for them by staying at high end. Market share is not everything. In fact it could have the beneficial affect of giving the Apple brand even more cachet as iphones become less common.
@Rick I totally agree with your analysis. I too feel this is the beginning of the end for Apple. I think this is a great oppurtunity for Android manufacturers to grab the market share from Apple. Infact investors too think the same, that is we saw Samsung, HTC, Motorola shares rise on tuesday.