Apple CFO on iPhone: ‘we’re not sitting around doing nothing’

“On the heels of its second best quarter ever and record Mac sales, Merrill Lynch has upgraded Apple stock from a ‘neutral’ to a ‘buy’ and raised its price target to $72–in part based on the company’s tacit acknowledgement of plans for an iPhone in Wednesday’s conference call,” MacNN reports.

MacNN reports, “Analyst Richard Farmer noted that Apple’s CFO Peter Oppenheimer made an indirect statement on Wednesday, alluding to an iPhone in its Q3 quarterly financial call.”

“‘Although the potential for iPod phone is not news, its financial impact is not in consensus estimates and the fact that management publicly alluded to it (albeit indirectly) on the conference call reinforces the possibility that its introduction could be near enough to influence consensus estimates within the next 12 months,’ Farmer said; however, the analyst does not believe Apple will release such a device until early in 2007,” MacNN reports.

MacNN reports, “‘We are very confident in our ability to compete in the marketplace. And we’re very excited about what we have in the product pipeline, and you know that I can’t comment on that,’ Oppenheimer said in response to an analyst who asked about the impact of Sony’s music phones and their success. ‘As regards cell phones, we don’t think that the phones that are available today make the best music players. We think the iPod is. But over time, that is likely to change. And we’re not sitting around doing nothing.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Whopsie! Oppenheimer likely cringed at least inside as those words passed his lips yesterday. He had to know that Steve Jobs would be placing a call on his prototype iPhone as soon as the conference call ended. Looking back at our live conference call notes, we jotted, “Oppenheimer: Music phones aren’t ready to compete with iPod now, but that is likely to change in the future. Apple is ‘not sitting around doing nothing.'” Yup, that qualifies as “tacit acknowledgement of plans for an iPhone.”

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  1. “Whopsie! Oppenheimer likely cringed at least inside as those words passed his lips yesterday.”

    Maybe, Maybe not. Most people have contracts for their cell service. Mine is up in 4 months. Knowing that an iPhone is in the pipeline, I’ll make sure not to sign a new annual contract until I see what Apple has to offer.

  2. I’m not quite sure it is a tacit admission of an iPhone. Personally, I hope it isn’t. I don’t really want a merged iPod phone, at least not until they could power such a combined unit for at least 24 hours of use on a single charge.

    When Oppenheimer said, ‘As regards cell phones, we don’t think that the phones that are available today make the best music players. We think the iPod is. But over time, that is likely to change. And we’re not sitting around doing nothing.'” . . . it sounds like two separate thoughts. Music phones today aren’t great. We have the best music player, but it won’t always be the best, so we’re working to improve it. Now, that may or may not imply an iPhone, but I think the connection is more nebulous than the analysts, or MDN’s take, imply.

  3. The question of “if” an iPhone was coming was not really there, only “when”. Given the convergence of phones, camera, PIM, etc., it is only a natural progression for Apple. The real question is “how” they will deploy it. Specifically, will they become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO like Amp’d Mobile), will they be able to create a phone/agreement used by network carriers (Verizon, Cingular, etc.) and/or create a new partnership with the likes of RIM (BlackBerry).

    All in all, I get terribly excited about a phone designed by Apple. One thing that REALLY irritates me is the terrible interface designs coming out of cell phone manufacturers. The worst experience is by far MS Mobile for the Smartphone segment. The BlackBerry/Treos are not too bad. I too have been holding off on my next phone purchase in hopes that Apple will release something I might actually enjoy using.

  4. I use T-Mobile, but their phone selection sucks. I just buy unlocked phones. BenQ-Siemens makes a good full-featured phone WITHOUT a camera (S68).

    So, if Apple comes out with a compelling iPhone, I’ll just do the same.

  5. I am not in favor of merging the hard drive based iPod with a phone because I don’t think the battery life would be sufficient to be both full time music device and phone. However, a phone with 4-8 GB flash memory would probably be workable and have adequate storage space for music (I like to have enough space so that I have a decent selection and so that I don’t have to resync every 3 days) and decent battery life.

    Although I carry my 60GB most of the time, there are situations where I do not want to carry it, but would like to have music. A nano/phone hybrid would be a nice solution if the price were right.

  6. Maybe it wasn’t a slip????

    Not that he is tons better than most other analysts, but Cramer was very publicly saying Apple makes it easy for their stock to get beat up because they almost never give any info of future products.

    Just a thought…

    MDN key work nothing as in nothing would make me happier than to see AAPL above $70 by tomorrow. It would put all those analyst idiots in save my ass spin mode.

  7. Dr Mcr had part of the answer … shifting the goal posts. Phones that play music will be getting better … rapidly so. The iPod will continue to develop … maybe branching a bit as it goes. Can the iPod become a better “music player”? I don’t see a huge amount of tech they can play with.
    The iPod can hold more music than 99% of people own
    The nano can certainly grow, and will
    The shuffle … will grow, more slowly

    The above says nothing about “better music players”, not really. So they need to shift directions. Like they did when they added photos, and when they WILL add videos. But, this doesn’t make them better music players. Just better, more desirable, products.

    What do phones need to catch up to the iPod? More song and battery capacity. They need to be bigger than a shuffle. Except the designs are going the other way … they are all getting smaller.

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