Apple has reported that it amassed profits of more than $13 billion in the December 2013 quarter, largely backed by total sales of 51 million iPhones in the period. The company stressed that the figures represent the best quarterly performance ever for its iOS smartphone.
However, Wall Street held back praises for Apple CEO Tim Cook and value of Apple shares plunged in the immediate hours after the company's earnings call as investors felt jittery about Apple's growth prospects.
And for good reason - the Q4 2013 results missed Apple's earlier guidance of 56 million iPhones shipped out for the three-month period. It appears too that no improvement can be expected for the current quarter.
According to Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, the best that Apple can do in March 2014 quarter is to register 37.5 million of total iPhone sales. Munster, CNET said in a report, downgraded from his previous forecast that Apple will clear 42 million iPhones by the end of Q1 2014.
Why the change of heart? The market is heavily saturated, analysts said, which also explains Samsung's not-so-stellar Q4 2013 results.
Then the iPhone 5C, launched alongside the iPhone 5S, prove to be not the bestseller that Apple has envisioned and the numbers will not improve. Neither the iPhone maker will revise its mass market strategy anytime soon.
Per Munster: "We believe Apple has made its stance on the lower-end clear and expect the current focus on creating premium products at a premium price point to remain."
Also, Cook has made it clear that his company will not make junk smartphones or collide head-on with Android device manufacturers that flood the market with cheap mobile phones.
So the best bet for Apple is to simply accelerate the iPhone 6 2014 rollout if the company hopes to reverse the decline in Q4 2013 and avert the gloomy Q1 2014 projections from analysts.
Recent reports suggest that the company could rush the next iPhone debut, gunning perhaps for an early second half release this 2014. Apple watchers are looking for the big event to happen between May and June, also in the same year.
These speculations were backed by rumours from Asia that the iPhone 6 is coming out in two models and will hit the market separately. The first build will sport a 4.5-inch screen though the specs are yet to disseminate. This device should by June 2014, at the latest.
Then the second model will be out by September of the same year, which is in line with Apple's release calendar. This iPhone 6 variant will boast of a 5-inch screen profile that highlights wider viewer with emphasis on one-hand use.
On release date, the two iPhone 6 versions are expected to be housed in a Liquidmetal casing, wrapped in sapphire coating and powered by a 64-bit A8 processing chip with iOS 8 running the whole show.