Apple investors panic over costly iPhones

Apple’s share price, which should be going through the roof on the back of two product launches, actually went down as Wall Street gave the thumbs down to Cupertino.

Wall Street slammed Apple for releasing an over-priced model which was supposed to sort out emerging markets such as China, and dismissed the other model as lacking enough new features.

The consensus was that Apple missed an opportunity to introduce a low-end smartphone to drive sales in Asia, where Samsung and China’s Huawei have a wide lead over Apple.

The plastic iPhone 5C will sell for $730 in China, which is more than the average monthly urban income in China, and about double the cost of similar phones from Samsung and other vendors.

Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott told Reuters that investors were put off that Apple’s price point didn’t go low enough to attract a new market.

The high-end iPhone 5S disappointed Wall Street and revived fears that Apple’s most innovative days may be behind it. The phone launched with a gimmick, as is tradition, which in this case was a fingerprint scanner to improve security.  However, analysts felt that this was not good enough to make the iPhone 5S a sure win in the crowded smartphone market.

Luschini said that there was nothing transformational announced. Bigger features, like different screen sizes, don’t seem to be at the ready. This was less than expected from a company that has a reputation for surprising with a killer product or strategy.

Apple shares slid 5.4 percent to close at a monthly low of $467.71 on the Nasdaq after at least three brokerages downgraded their rating on the stock.

Apple remains up 18 percent since the start of July, when anticipation about the phones began building.

Some of the tamer analysts admit that the prices are too high, but have said that it is a good move to preserve margins while leaving room for future reductions.

Once again, Apple has kicked itself an own goal in China – a nation it clearly needs onside if it is going to keep its historical market dominance.

Apple fell to seventh in the second quarter in China with a five percent market share, losing ground not just to Samsung but also to Lenovo and ZTE.

Just 2.6 percent of 35,000 Chinese consumers surveyed by web portal said they would consider buying the 5C.

Sanford  Bernstein analysts warned that Apple’s inability or unwillingness to come out with a low-priced offering for emerging markets nearly ensures that the company will continue to be an overall share loser in the smartphone market.

Apple’s only hope was securing a partnership deal with China Mobile which could grant the iPhone more than 740 million potential buyers. That expected deal was not announced on Tuesday and there are a few fears that it may not be happening at all.