Apple's new iPhones don't wow Wall Street

But the 5C is cheap enough for China Mobile.

By Jim J. Jubak Sep 10, 2013 6:15PM

Wall Street wasn't impressed by Apple’s (AAPL) new product event Tuesday. Shares closed down $11.53 or 2.28% for the day. Wall Street heard pretty much what it expected to hear and sold down the shares-- because Apple didn’t announce any big new feature that hadn’t been priced into the recent rally in the shares.


But I heard what I wanted to hear from Apple CEO Tim Cook.


First, the new iPhones, the 5S and the 5C, will launch in China on September 20, the same day the phone goes on sale in the United States and most European countries. (This is the first time China gets a new iPhone at the same time as the United States.) Japan’s NTT/Docomo (NTDMF) will sell the new 5C phone as well.

Second, the new 5C, the cheaper of the two new models, will be cheap enough for China Mobile (CHL) to sell. The prices for the phone with its colorful plastic cover, better camera and improved audio was announced Tuesday as $99 for the 16 gigabyte model and $199 for 32 gigabytes (on a two-year contract.)


I think that’s cheap enough to give Apple access to the 800 million customers of China Mobile and NTT/Docomo. That access, given Apple’s slipping market share in China, is critical to Apple.


So am I totally happy with what I heard on Tuesday? No.


I would have liked a definite announcement of a deal between Apple and China Mobile. (Maybe we’ll get that Wednesday at Apple’s China event.)


I would have liked a big, whiz-bang new feature for the 5S rather than important but more subtle improvements to the iPhone’s camera, SIRI, motion sensor, and processor. (The 5S gets a new 64-bit A7 processor -- the 5C uses the older A6 -- that allow apps, video, and graphics to run faster.)


The smartphone market has become very, very competitive -- and consumers are getting harder and harder to impress.


But the crucial part of this iPhone update, for investors, will be the ability of the 5C to claw back market share in China from Android phones produced by domestic Chinese companies (and Samsung (SSNLF)). To know whether the 5C is up to the job, we’ll have to wait for reports on how the consumer market reacts to Apple’s new price points, the feel of the plastic case, the 4-inch Retina display and the line-up of colors.


Full disclosure: I don't own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this post in my personal portfolio. When in 2010 I started the mutual fund I manage, Jubak Global Equity Fund, I liquidated all my individual stock holdings and put the money into the fund. The fund did own shares of Apple as of the end of June. For a complete list of the fund’s holdings as of the end of June see the fund's portfolio.


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18Comments
Sep 10, 2013 9:09PM
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Only Wall St cares what Wall St thinks ... a pox on Wall St.
Sep 10, 2013 7:32PM
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It looks like Apple copied Nokia's Lumia but instead of polycarbonate Apple used plastic.
Sep 10, 2013 9:43PM
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No surprise about the phone, marketing, or drop in share price.  No Steve Jobs no creativity.
Sep 10, 2013 10:56PM
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i said it 2 years ago, APPLE is on the way out. Their business model was built on one man ( who is now dead). When ever you rely on one man, and being th best every time, you will fail.

 

The writing was on the wall from day one..

Sep 11, 2013 2:41AM
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APPLE:

 

 Apple should be commended for the 5C and 5S iphone .

 

It's about time we sent China and Japan a piece of crap,

They've been doing it to us for years.

 

And the funny thing about it is, they will find the New Apple iphones to be the best thing since fried rice..

 

I predict these models to be a big success in Asia, Europe, and India..

Sep 11, 2013 8:03AM
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Wall street has shown time and again they know nothing when it comes to Apple. Apple is extremely undervalued. 
Sep 11, 2013 12:15PM
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Some people are missing the big picture.  The iPhone is not a phone any longer.  It is a hand held computer, and it is the best and fastest and most capable on the market by far.  And that's not a formula for success?
Sep 11, 2013 8:07AM
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Make sure you all check back in 6-9 months from Now when Apple proves again they were right. I'm holding my stock. Only the fed can F this up.
Sep 10, 2013 10:09PM
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Steve Jobs is dead, get over it will you?
Sep 10, 2013 10:39PM
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I figured when the iPhake comes out around Thanksgiving for about $1.89, I can buy some for the G-kids (little ones) and GG-kids for Christmas...

 

I hope they come in pretty colors too... 

Sep 11, 2013 8:58PM
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The only people sleeping outside the Apple store tuesday night were homeless people. This doesn't send a message? 
Sep 10, 2013 8:28PM
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I can't believe I'm saying it, but... Wall Street isn't stupid. A cheap phone product is ill-conceived right now and won't increase business or revenues. I've said it before-- Apple will be gone in less than 5 years, whether Kool Aid addicts believe that or not.
Sep 10, 2013 11:01PM
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NO ONE CAN HIT HOME RUNS forever. Their business plan was doomed to fail
Sep 10, 2013 10:05PM
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Intel's new Atom Bay Trail D-M (Silvermont), iCore i3-7 (Haswell) and Quarks are going to change technology from the Inside out - pun intended.  Apple just reskinning their monkey toys.
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