Apple roundup: 5S fingerprint sensor confirmed, big marketing push on tap?

|About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)|By:, SA News Editor

Ahead of today's 1PM ET iPhone event (live blog), the WSJ has confirmed the iPhone 5S will include a fingerprint sensor. However, the cheaper 5C isn't expected to have one.

AdAge reports Apple (AAPL -0.8%) is "significantly expanding" its internal ad design/marketing team. One exec thinks its ranks could grow to 500-600 from a current 300. In June, Apple released a high-profile TV ad that was likened to a manifesto.

Analysts have been tripping over themselves to predict the impact of the 5C and the reportedly pending China Mobile and NTT DoCoMo deals. FBN (Outperform) thinks adding China Mobile could boost calendar 2014 EPS by $2, assuming a relatively low ASP ($425) and gross margin (30%). The firm observes Apple was estimated by Strategy Analytics to have only a 4.3% share of the Chinese smartphone market in Q2.

Deutsche's Brian Whitmore is more bullish, estimating China Mobile and DoCoMo could drive 35M extra iPhone sales in 2014, and lift EPS by $5. He observes ~35M China Mobile subs already use "gray market" iPhones, and thinks most will upgrade if given a chance to buy subsidized hardware.

Citi's Glen Yeung remains cautious, arguing the 5C's ability to take share could be limited by the fact $400+ phones only accounted for 13.7% of the Q2 smartphone market (per Gartner), and estimating every "5% move in mix" from the 5S to the 5C will affect gross margin by 315 bps and EPS by 2.1%.