Revered Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has predicted in a note sent to clients on Monday that Apple will discontinue 2017’s $999 iPhone X later this year while adding a lower-priced Plus-sized model outfitted with an edge-to-edge OLED panel to the product mix.
Doing so would mark a break from Apple’s common practice of continuing to sell previous-generation iPhones at lower prices following new models launch.
Here’s an excerpt from Kuo’s note, obtained by MacRumors:
iPhone X would hurt product brand value and lineup of the new 2018 models if it continues to sell at a lower price after the new models launch.
Lowering iPhone X’s price after 2018 models launch would be a negative to product brand value given 3D-sensing and OLED display are features of the high-price model.
Additionally, to sell iPhone X at a lower price may have a negative impact on shipments of the new 6.1-inch LCD iPhone in the second half of 2018. Thus, we estimate iPhone X will reach end-of-life (EOL) around the middle of 2018.
The upcoming 6.1-inch “iPhone X Plus” model should be priced significantly lower than the $999 iPhone X, coming in the $650-$750 range. He believes Apple will ship approximately 18 million iPhone X units in the current quarter versus the consensus of 20-30 million units.
iPhone X sales are weaker than expected because customers in China are holding on to their phones for a longer time, Kuo added, dislike the notch and prefer larger-screened devices.
In his mind, iPhone X has established a new $999 price point for a flagship iPhone.
Apple’s competitors will be scrambling to outfit their 2018 smartphones with Face ID-like functionality, the analyst said, although he believes Apple’s technical advantages give it a two-year lead on Android rivals.
iPhone X has been a “strategic success” for the Cupertino technology giant, he added. ”We believe iPhone X has established a long-term edge for Apple.”
As mentioned, Kuo reiterated claims made in prior notes to clients, predicting Apple would unveil an iPhone X successor alongside a new 6.5-inch Plus-sized OLED model and a 6.1-inch device with an LCD screen sporting a TrueDepth camera and iPhone X-like design.
Later this fall is when “the real super cycle will kick in,” the analyst has concluded.