Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be preparing to roll out a new pricing scheme for some of its iPhone models, according to an updated pricing and supply report from Piper Jaffray analysts Gene Munster and Douglas J. Clinton. Although Apple’s iPhone pricing by tier is currently unchanged, the analysts believe that the Cupertino, California-based company will soon make adjustments in its pricing levels for emerging markets such as China.
Piper Jaffray tracks prices for three tiers of iPhones: top tier, mid tier, and bottom tier. Previously, the iPhone models in these tiers were the iPhone 5, the iPhone 4S, and the iPhone 4, respectively. However, the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C have now taken the top two tier spots, while the iPhone 4S has dropped to the bottom tier of Apple’s product line.
Although the pricing in each tier remains essentially the same, the analysts believe that Apple may soon start experimenting with different pricing, especially for the iPhone 5C and iPhone 4S. According to the Piper Jaffray report, these price adjustments might be made as soon as the December quarter but are more likely to occur in the March quarter. The analysts also predicted that Apple will further lower the price of its iPhone 4, which currently sells for approximately $415 in China.
Besides forecasting some pricing changes, the analysts also noted the supply levels for Apple’s two newest iPhone models. Munster and Clinton said that the “iPhone 5S supply remains challenged”; Munster previously predicted that Apple would have limited supplies of the iPhone 5S due to production constraints. The analysts noted that the iPhone 5S is still showing an October shipping date in most markets.
On the other hand, Apple seems to have an ample supply of iPhone 5Cs. According to checks on Apple’s online stores, the iPhone 5C still has “24 hour availability” in nine different countries.
Although the analysts noted that Apple still faces risks in component pricing and competitive pressures, they maintain an Overweight rating and a $640 price target on Apple stock.
Here’s how Apple traded on Thursday:
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