While nobody outright asked Apple where the next iPhone was during the company's third-quarter earnings call this afternoon, in answering a question about its fourth-quarter earnings forecast, the company alluded to a "future product transition" happening sometime before the end of quarter, which ends in September.
Responding to a question from Morgan Stanley analyst Katie Huberty about why the company was forecasting such "soft" numbers for its fourth quarter, Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said the company was in fact expecting higher year over year sales of Mac computers, iPhones, and the iPad, with another decline for iPods. Oppenheimer then mentioned the company had a "future product transition" on the way.
"As we announced at WWDC, we have a lot going on in the fall with the introduction of iOS 5 and iCloud. We also have a future product transition that we're not going to talk about today, and these things will impact our September quarter," Oppenheimer said.
The obvious conclusion to jump to from that statement is that Oppenheimer was referring to the iPhone, a product that's now a month past its usual release and widely expected to arrive alongside the release of iOS 5 in the fall. A U.K. job posting from last week made waves for suggesting the release could be as soon as mid-August, roughly a month from now.
Apple posted higher-than-expected iPhone sales numbers today, higher even than the previous quarter--something Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook attributed to the company's expansion into emerging markets and making the phone available on more carriers in more countries. Analysts were expecting the company to post a smaller number based on expectations that consumers had gotten used to Apple's upgrade cycle and were therefore holding off on buying new handsets.
One other tidbit worth noting that could be related: at the very tail end of the earnings call, Brian Marshall from Gleacher & Company asked why Apple's iTunes didn't have more movie titles available and what Apple was doing to expand its catalog. Oppenheimer responded, saying that the selection of movies and TV shows was "very very broad," especially in the U.S., and that the company was adding more in other countries each quarter.
"Look for some more content later this quarter across the various stores," Oppenheimer said. "We have some neat stuff coming."