iFans, mark your calendars.
All Things Digital is reporting that sources say Apple (AAPL) will unveil its new iPhone at a special event on Sept. 10. That’s in line with the company’s timing for last year’s iPhone 5 announcement, and comes just days after Samsung’s (SSNLF) expected Galaxy Note III announcement on Sept. 4.
It’s exciting news for everyone who has been waiting for the next generation of iPhone, but the big question is going to be just how many people have been waiting. Sales of the iPhone 5, while still an impressive 5 million, disappointed investors’ expectations.
If the Sept. 10 date proves accurate, we’re less than a month away from finding out the name of Apple’s next smartphone — and whether the successor to the iPhone 5 will have a cheaper, more colorful cousin.
The expected cheaper iPhone would likely target emerging markets, where smartphones have yet to saturate the mobile market. It would offer lower-income consumers an improvement over feature phones while still being cheaper than a fully priced iPhone 5.
But if sales disappoint — especially for the rumored budget iPhone, where margins are almost certain to be squeezed — Apple stock could be at risk.
As Jeff Reeves pointed out, AAPL is particularly vulnerable now that the Galaxy Tab and Google’s (GOOG) Nexus are eating up Apple’s tablet market share. If the next iPhone (or iPhones) is a sales dud, the stock could be headed back toward $400.
Adam Benjamin is an Assistant Editor of InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.