Apple Inc. (AAPL): iPhone 5S May Be Late

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is supposedly starting to ramp up production of its newest smartphone, the iPhone 5S, based on a recent hiring spree at key supplier Foxconn in China over the last month. And while the new device is being rumored as having at least a couple of upgrades from the iPhone 5, there are reports that a summer release expectation just may be a bit too ambitious due to production challenges. Does this sound familiar?

Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is reportedly looking at potential delays in the production of the iPhone 5S, which was slated to hit production lines in June and perhaps hit store shelves in August or early September. While there was talk in the fall about production problems surrounding the thinner design of the iPhone 5, similar constraints are being reported this time – but not necessarily in the design of the phone itself, but with one of the new features.  Apparently the iPhone 5S is supposed to be the first smartphone model by Apple that would feature some kind of fingerprint sensor  as a security feature, but Apple is having problems finding a material that does not interfere with the sensor. Until that issue is resolved, it seems that Apple will put the phone on hold.

In the meantime, there are continuing reports that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is working on an outreach device for emerging markets like China, India and Brazil, where the economies have grown in large amounts over recent years but which average incomes are still relatively low. As China has been targeted by Apple as a key strategic market for the company, Apple seems to be working on a cheaper iPhone model that has a plastic casing but would likely have the iOS 6 operating system and a 4-inch screen like the iPhone 5. However, Apple is not saying publicly (yet) whether such a phone is even in the pipeline, much less on its way to store shelves.

These developments, however, just might make an impact  when Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) reports is quarterly earnings after the bel Tuesday. While no one is likely to expect that Apple will actual revel any plans for new devices, analysts will certainly be looking for hints at what might be coming … and if there is some enthusiasm about what is coming, that just might affect the stock as much or more than the actual earnings numbers that come out. With Apple nowadays, it seems to be about the guidance more than the current numbers which will get Apple out of this current funk.

What are your thoughts about Apple and its iPhone 5S? Do you sense any pressure for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to score well with any new devices, and how might this delay affect the company’s prospects? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.