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Apple says new iPhone launch will be delayed ‘a few weeks’

Sales bounce back in China, while Japan records highest revenue growth.

Photo by Thai Nguyen on Unsplash Photo by Thai Nguyen on Unsplash

Apple reported record quarterly results on Thursday, defying supply chain disruptions and economic downtrends brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also said the launch of new iPhones will be delayed by “a few weeks.”

“Last year, we started selling new iPhones in late September. This year, we project supply to be available a few weeks later,” Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said on an earnings call that confirmed an earlier report by the Nikkei Asian Review.

The postponement of the new iPhone was mainly due to factory lockdowns and workplace absences during the pandemic. Besides delays in the development and manufacturing processes, Apple was concerned that pandemic-induced economic challenges might lower consumer demand for the new smartphone.

“Generally speaking, I think we need to see a vaccine or a therapeutic or both, and, you know, there’s some optimism around that,” CEO Tim Cook said.

“I think that would boost consumer confidence quite a bit,” with consumer-oriented companies standing to benefit, he said.

China digest

For the three months ended June 27, the US handset giant posted 11% year-over-year total revenue growth to USD 59.7 billion, a record for a June quarter. The company attributed the growth to strong demand driven by working from home and remote learning.

All regions saw sales increases in the quarter, while Japan recorded the highest growth with nearly USD 5 billion in total sales, jumping 22% from a year earlier.

Greater China, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, suffered first from COVID-19 and also saw the biggest dip among all markets in the March quarter. But the region returned to growth in the June quarter and registered USD 9.3 billion in revenue, up 2% year over year.

“The iPhone 11 has been our bestselling phone and has been No. 1 in urban China, and so we’re very, very proud of that,” Cook said. “iPad was helped in the June quarter there by the work-from-home and distance learning [trends], as it was in other geographies, and the Mac also grew strong double digit.”

Sales of the iPhone, Apple’s main revenue driver, were up 1.7% year over year at USD 26.4 billion in the June quarter.

“The stage is setting up for a massive pent-up iPhone 12 cycle heading into the fall in this key region as well as globally. China remains a key ingredient in Apple’s recipe for success as we estimate roughly 20% of iPhone upgrades will be coming from this region over the coming year,” said Dan Ives, managing director at Wedbush Securities.

Apple also announced a 4-for-1 stock split “to make the stock more accessible to a broader base of investors,” it said in an earnings release. The company will give investors three additional shares of Apple for each share they own as of Aug. 24, and trading will begin on a split-adjusted basis on Aug. 31.

The company’s stock was up 6% in after-hours trading after the earnings release.

This article first appeared on Nikkei Asian Review. It’s republished here as part of 36Kr’s ongoing partnership with Nikkei. 36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company.