Well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new report to clients ahead of Apple’s June quarter earnings report, which is due this coming Tuesday.
The note, a copy of which was obtained by AppleInsider, provides several predictions regarding Apple’s upcoming product refreshes.
For starters, Kuo is expecting new Apple Watch Sport variants in rose and yellow gold color options matching the upcoming ‘iPhone 6s’ and ‘iPhone 6s Plus’ colors. He also wrote that new iMac models with upgraded processors could arrive later this year, in addition to a thinner, lighter iPad mini and more.
Kuo pegged Apple Watch shipments over the three-month period ending in June at 3.9 million units, describing customer response as “tepid.” Going forward, the analyst thinks Apple Watch sales will increase 41.1 percent in the next three months to 5.5 million units on the back of expanded availability in new markets.
Apple has said it won’t report watch sales for competitive reasons and will instead report them under a product category which includes the Apple TV, accessories and other non-essential items.
By the way, Apple’s confirmed that the Apple Watch is launching in New Zealand on July 31, with other markets to be confirmed at a later stage. Kuo is projecting a total of fifteen million Apple Watch shipments by the end of 2015, roughly in line with the Wall Street consensus.
Most importantly, Kuo thinks a new aluminum Apple Watch Sport model with yellow or rose gold coating is in tow. These appearances will be achieved through the anodization process and match the upcoming iPhone 6s color options. In one of his previous analysis, Kuo predicted up to three new versions of Apple Watch featuring new casing materials in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The Wall Street Journal said ahead of the Apple Watch’s April 2015 debut that Apple “has studied platinum Apple Watch casing.”
According to the analyst note, iPad sales bottomed out this quarter as Apple sold about 8.8 million units, marking another decline for Apple’s tablet of 33.5 percent versus the year-ago quarter.
In an attempt to revert the trend, Apple should refresh the iPad mini this fall with an even thinner and lighter appearance and a faster processor making the forthcoming iPad mini “essentially a mini version of the iPad Air.” iPad shipments should hit 11 million units next quarter, a 28.3 percent year-over-year drop.
Kuo’s note makes no mention of a next-generation iPad Air or a rumored ‘iPad Pro.’ The rumor-mill is in agreement that the iPad Pro will launch later this year, but some watchers have cautioned that an ‘iPad Air 3’ won’t arrive this year.
Kuo’s iPhone sales forecast for the quarter stands at 54.2 million units, a 54 percent boost in sales compared to the same time last year, mostly due to “robust” demand in China. While the analyst expects the new iPhones with Force Touch technology to boost handset demand further, he cautions that potential manufacturing issues with the pressure sensors could results in a 26 percent drop to 40.1 million units in the next quarter before suppliers increase manufacturing efficiency and address yield issues.
As for Mac sales, Kuo is expecting a total of 5.4 million Macs shipped during the June quarter, a potential 21.6 percent increase over the same period last year. He contributes the continuing growth of the Mac lineup in this quarter to the release of the refreshed Mac notebook models. And later this year, Apple should release an updated iMac models with new processors from Intel, said Kuo.
Apple will release June quarter earnings next Tuesday, July 21, and iDownloadBlog will be providing live coverage of the event and Apple’s conference call with analysts.
What do you make of these predictions?