Apple's iPhone 8 intro expected to compete with debut of MWC Americas

Tim Cook, Apple CEO
Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple appears positioned to steal some of the thunder from the wireless industry’s biggest show in the United States.

Again.

The company is slated to trot out three new iPhones including a high-profile flagship device as well as an LTE-enabled Apple Watch on September 12, according to a report this morning in The Wall Street Journal. Apple hopes to use the Steve Jobs Theater on its new campus, according to the report, but may have to hold the event elsewhere if construction is delayed.

That date coincides with the opening day of Mobile World Congress Americas, which will make its debut in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Apple has held its last two iPhone introductions at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.

The Journal reported cited “people briefed on (Apple’s) plans,” and the company declined to comment on the story.

The upcoming version of Apple’s high-end phone has long been rumored to be delayed. But analysts generally agreed that the unexpectedly high guidance the company issued a few weeks ago—coupled with Apple’s move to reduce its inventory of existing iPhone models—likely point to a punctual introduction of the next flagship.

Indeed, the reported introduction date—and a likely launch roughly ten days later—would conform to previous iPhone timelines.

“Revenue guide of $49 billion to $52 billion was higher vs. prior Wall Street estimates of $49.2 billion and iPhone channel inventory reduction may suggest the iPhone launch timing could be similar to prior years,” Maynard Um of Wells Fargo Securities wrote earlier this month in a note to investors.

Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research recently echoed those thoughts, predicting that the new flagship may not face the component shortages that have dragged down sales of earlier models.

“Perhaps more significantly for the longer-term outlook, the company provided guidance for the September quarter which essentially guarantees new iPhone hardware in September,” Dawson said in a blog post. “I would guess at the very least Apple will have the successors to the current phones on sale in the usual time frame and in the usual volumes, while my hunch is that the new higher-end model will also go on sale at the same time but be even more heavily supply-constrained than new iPhones usually are.”

Apple is widely expected to launch a significantly redesigned flagship with a price tag approaching $1,000. The phone will square off against the high-end Galaxy Note 8,  which Samsung introduced last week, as well as a second-generation Google Pixel and other phones.

CTIA has long hosted the biggest annual event in the U.S. wireless industry. But last year the company announced a partnership with the GSMA to bring a more global flavor to its event. Next month’s show will be the first to be co-hosted by the two trade associations.

Apple introduced its current flagship, the iPhone 7, last year during the opening day of CTIA Super Mobility 2016, which was held in Las Vegas.