Apple's new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C do not represent major design changes, but rather are geared to provide attractive price points for customers in China and other developing markets.
(Read more: It's on! Wal-Mart ratchets up smartphone turf war)
Yeung, though, said the success is likely to be limited:
To be sure, emerging markets represent a better opportunity, particularly in smartphones (89 percent cellular penetration, 30 percent smartphone penetration). But historical precedent in other hardware, supported by common product lifecycle theory, suggests global ASPs (average selling prices) will need to fall. With markets reaching saturation, ASPs poised to fall, and growth from innovation increasingly elusive, it would seem reasonable to expect margin degradation for high-end handset makers.
For Apple, that could mean disappointing sales.
For shareholders, who have bid up the Cupertino, Calif.-based company's shares nearly 10 percent over the past month, it could mean a similar letdown.
Indeed, shares slid after the unveiling, dropping about 3 percent in afternoon trading.
The lofty margins for Apple have already fallen 874 (basis points, or 8.74 percentage points) from their high over the past year. But historically, margins for hardware going through maturation tend to erode on average, leaving risk ahead. No surprise that as margins erode, share prices follow suit.
—By CNBC's Jeff Cox. Follow him @JeffCoxCNBCcom on Twitter.