Apple’s fiscal third quarter 2020 was another one for the record books, surpassing analysts’ expectations despite pandemic-related fears of a global recession. But the next quarter might not be as rosy as its predecessors, Apple CFO Luca Maestri hinted today on a conference call with analysts, as COVID-19-related delays could keep the company’s hugely important iPhone lineup from arriving during the traditional September timeframe.
“This is an immensely challenging moment,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts, noting that COVID-19 and racial justice issues loom large over the country, though he and Maestri spotlighted the company’s strong performance and financial resilience despite the troubled U.S. economy. But in subsequent comments, Maestri said that the launch of new iPhone models would likely come several weeks later than in the past, leaving the $399 2020 iPhone SE as the newest model until then.
Chipmaker Qualcomm obliquely flagged the potential for a “partial impact” on upcoming quarterly earnings during a conference call this week, attributable to “the delay of a 5G flagship phone launch” by an unnamed OEM. Under U.S. securities laws, publicly traded companies are obliged to disclose advance knowledge of facts that might materially impact their financial performance in the upcoming quarter — an obligation that likely contributed to Apple’s decision to flag the issue today.