Apple would survive ban on older iPhones, iPads, says analyst

A sales ban could affect Apple's revenue by 1 percent over the next two quarters but would have no lasting impact, says analyst Gene Munster.

CNET

Sure, Samsung won a victory over Apple when a judge imposed a limited sales ban on older iPhones and iPads. But Apple would survive such a ban virtually unscathed, according to Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster.

Tuesday's ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission found Apple guilty of infringing on certain Samsung cellular technology patents . Assuming the ruling stands, a ban on the infringing devices would halt sales of the AT&T models of the iPhone 4 and 3GS and the 3G versions of the first and second iPad.

A ban on most of those devices would have virtually no effect on Apple as the iPhone 4 is the only one of those products with measurable sales, Munster said in an investors note released today. The iPhone 4 contributed around 8 percent of Apple's total revenue over the last two quarters, according to the analyst. Sales of the phone through AT&T contributed even less -- around 2 percent of total revenue.

Assuming those percentages remain firm, a sales ban on the iPhone 4 on AT&T would trigger a loss in Apple's revenue over the next two quarters of just 1 percent, or $680 million. And that figure might be lower given that AT&T customers could simply pick a different iPhone.

"The actual impact will likely be less than 1 percent given AT&T customers that would not have a chance to purchase an iPhone 4 could buy an iPhone 4S or 5 instead," Munster said. "Given the iPhone 4 will likely be retired at the end of September, there should not be an impact after the September 2013 quarter."

Although the ITC's ruling is final, Apple could appeal the decision to the Federal Circuit or even ask for a reprieve from the White House, which can approve or disprove the ruling.

 

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