For this analyst, Apple needs both low-cost iPhone and iPhablet to stay ahead of curve

By Ed Sutherland on Jul 26, 2013

Although Apple managed to surprise investors with better-than-expected iPhone sales, some observers see a more daunting future for the flagship Apple smartphone.

Apple’s global smartphone marketshare may have fallen by some estimates to as low as fourteen percent amid increasing pressure from rivals seeking higher margins and more sales.

Strategy Analytics describes the iPhone being “trapped in a pincer movement” between Android cheapos and high-end monster phones with five-inch screens. In other words, as iPhone competitors that churn out inexpensive handsets increasingly march toward the mid-range in hopes of gaining more profit, Apple’s high-end rivals are now moving toward the middle, seeking increased sales… Read More


Analyst: iPad 5/iPhone 5S/budget model in September, no Retina iPad mini in 2013

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 22, 2013

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is fast becoming the de facto most reliable Apple watcher. Expanding on his April note which advised investors to brace themselves for a delayed iDevice roll-out over manufacturing “challenges,” his just-updated shipments timetable now offers more in way of detail.

Long story short, the analyst is expecting the iPhone 5S in late-September, but in limited quantity, with the oft-rumored plastic iPhone (he’s calling it an ‘iPhone Lite’) becoming available even sooner than the iPhone 5S in early-September because its chassis is easier to make than the two-tone iPhone 5S design.

Early September will also bring us an updated iPad 5, he said, but there will be no iPad mini successor this year due to engineering issues. As for the Mac family, Kuo sees a mid-September launch of a Haswell-enabled Retina MacBook Pro, with a Haswell-driven iMac up for a late-August introduction. The full breakdown is right after the break… Read More


Chip-making venture could cost Apple $7 billion

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 15, 2013

A story published this past weekend by a website called SemiAccurate has renewed speculation of Apple’s supposed interest in producing the engine for iDevices at a plant of its own, as opposed to simply designing silicon blueprints in-house and commissioning others to build the chips, as has been the case since 2010.

So if Apple really bought into a fab, as the exclusive story alleges, the non-trivial move would span years to complete while costing billions of dollars.

Worse, Apple would expose itself to unforeseen difficulties not limited to yield issues: running a sophisticated chip-making factory requires a disciplined approach to attracting and retaining highly-trained engineers, one analyst cautioned Monday… Read More


Analyst says mass production of iPhone 5S to start this month

By Cody Lee on Jul 15, 2013

According to Peter Misek, Apple will begin mass production of its next flagship smartphone, believed to be the iPhone 5S, later this month. The Jefferies analyst issued a note to investors this morning saying that the handset will launch in late September or early October.

Misek’s report comes hot on the heels of a story from Chinese Business News claiming that Foxconn has restarted mass-hiring assembly line workers in the Chinese mainland to prepare for 5S production. It too said Apple was preparing for an early to mid-fall introduction… Read More


Apple looking to add new Taiwanese suppliers to build 2014 iDevices

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 12, 2013

According to the latest chatter, Apple of California is looking to introduce new Taiwanese suppliers to its supply chain in a bid to diversify manufacture of iOS devices beyond the current production partners Foxconn and Pegatron.

The development comes just as Foxconn reported better-than-expected June quarter earnings on increased sales of its TV set making business.

Meanwhile, a city in China’s Henan Province is helping Foxconn increase its production capacity and inviting Apple to set up a domestic sales center… Read More


T-Mobile reportedly sold about 900,000 iPhones in June quarter

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 11, 2013

T-Mobile USA, the nation’s fourth-largest wireless carrier, started taking pre-orders for Apple’s iPhone on April 5, a week ahead of April 12 availability.

Following the strong advertising push, the carrier then boasted about ‘gangbuster’ opening for the iconic smartphone, leaving us scratching our head as the headline-grabbing phrase left room for various interpretations in terms of hard data.

The exact sales figure came to light during T-Mobile’s earnings call when we learned the Deutsche Telekom-owned telco sold half a million iPhones during its first month of availability, between April 5 and May 8.

Though T-Mobile won’t report June quarter earnings until August 8, the company reportedly confirmed selling about 900,000 iPhones during the three-month period ended June 30. If true, the data point suggests the carrier has moved an additional 400,000 units between May 8 and June 30, but also that sales have slowed following the initial push… Read More


Apple’s iTunes owns 75% of digital music sales

By Ed Sutherland on Jun 21, 2013

Apple’s iTunes is one of those happy ironies. Begun as a way to boost sales of Macs and other hardware and content with breaking even, the service now rakes in $20 billion per year selling digital warez such as video, books, apps and music – a whole lot of music. In fact, Apple now sells 75 percent of all digital music, according to a new analysis.

In a series of peeks into how iTunes earns all that revenue, independent analyst Horace Dediu paints a picture where more than a half-billion users are pointing to a future where apps surpass digital music sales… Read More


Outspoken Apple analyst calls iOS 7 changes most important in iPhone history

By Ed Sutherland on Jun 11, 2013

Love it or hate it, Apple’s newly-unveiled iOS 7 will breathe new life into the aging iPhone, argued one analyst late Monday. Unlike hardware changes which have a short lifetime in terms of public curiosity, phone software updates are mesmerizing.

In a note to investors, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster writes that the changes within iOS 7 will spark renewed interest in the iPhone, which some felt was being overshadowed by its Android rivals, such as the Samsung Galaxy S4… Read More


Haswell-powered iMacs expected in June or July

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 10, 2013

In addition to OS X 10.9 and iOS 7, credible media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal are expecting Apple to announce its Pandora-like iRadio music service and possibly a MacBook specs refresh at today’s WWDC keynote, which begins in less than four hours.

The reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has chimed in with predictions of a Haswell-focused iMacs that he believes are in the pipeline for a launch this month or next.

Intel just recently announced its fourth-generation Core architecture for desktop and notebook computers. Apple has traditionally been among the first out of the gate to update its computers with the latest Intel chips, sometimes even securing a period of exclusivity on the new chips, like with the original MacBook Air… Read More


Samsung’s Galaxy S4 dead in the water

By Ed Sutherland on Jun 7, 2013

Following clickbait dead-in-the-water headlines which spelled doom for Apple on overzealous analysts projecting overly optimistic iPhone sales, it’s now Samsung’s turn to feel Wall Street’s wrath. So, is Samsung’s smartphone business running out of steam?

That’s the question Wall Street is pondering as investors punish the South Korean firm after orders for its flagship Galaxy S4 had supposedly dropped by as much as thirty percent.

Friday, Samsung shares slid by more than six percent after more than $12 billion was sliced from the Android maker’s market capitalization. Can Samsung stop the downward spiral, perhaps offering a stock buyback as Apple did? Or are we seeing only the latest signs of an industry-wide slowdown in demand?

Either way, the old saying about people living in glass houses seems all the more pertinent… Read More


Why iTunes may be Apple’s biggest asset

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 4, 2013

When Apple’s iTunes Store debuted on April 28, 2003, it launched with zero customers. Today, Apple has more than half a billion iTunes accounts. While not every account holder gives Apple his or her credit card details, most do. Therefore, it’s fairly safe to assume that Apple with its online-only content store is the biggest seller on the web.

Indeed, an analysis by Morgan Stanley reveals that not only is iTunes second only to Facebook’s one billion accounts, it also makes more money per account than Amazon. More interesting factoids follow… Read More


Why budget iPhone doesn’t mean lower profits

By Ed Sutherland on Jun 3, 2013

Android smartphone makers have been doing it for years: controlling a market using inexpensive handsets to outnumber the more expensive iPhone. But when the idea that Apple should also produce a more affordable and contract-free device first appeared, a hue-and-cry erupted as if the next MacBook was to be powered by Windows 8.

Now comes calmer heads – ironically from Wall Street – showing Apple’s gross profit margin would increase by six percent because more people will buy the Apple smartphone if the company lowers the cost of owning an iPhone.

That’s right, all the hand-wringing going on about a less-pricey iPhone being suicide for Apple’s bottom-line could be all wrong… Read More


Galaxy S4 not hurting ‘resilient’ US iPhone sales

By Ed Sutherland on May 31, 2013

Listening to much of the tech press, you might get the impression Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 would further erode Apple’s share of the smartphone market. One Wall Street firm ended the week on a contrary note, telling investors iPhone sales in North America “remain resilient” and Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is only selling slightly better than its predecessor.

The analyst firm Detwiler Fenton expects Apple will sell a cool thirty million iPhones during the June quarter amid expectation the nine-month-old handset would lose market share to its South Korean rival… Read More


Popular analyst warns iWatch may not hit market until late 2014

By Cody Lee on May 22, 2013

Folks looking forward to seeing Apple launch its iWatch product this year probably shouldn’t get their hopes up. According to a new report from well-respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, there’s a good possibility we won’t see the rumored accessory until late 2014.

Kuo says that due to the vast changes coming in iOS 7, Apple won’t have the resources to build out software for the wristwatch-like device. And he thinks that, and an immature component market for wearable devices, will delay the project until the end of next year… Read More


Apple close to striking landmark iPhone deal with China Mobile

By Christian Zibreg on May 9, 2013

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty was visiting Hong Kong and Taiwan recently. She is now back from China with some interesting Apple news. Tim Cook & Co., she wrote in her note to clients, may be close to striking an iPhone distribution agreement with China Mobile, the world’s top wireless carrier by revenue and subscribers.

Specifically, Huberty wrote that “TD-LTE licenses, and related phone launches, are expected by year-end,” in her note to clients. China Mobile debuted small-scale TD-LTE network in 2010 and last year expanded coverage to select large cities. In case you were wondering, TD-LTE is a variant of the fourth-generation Long Term Evolution radio technology, also known as LTE… Read More


Apple v Samsung fight for mobile profits intensifies

By Ed Sutherland on May 8, 2013

For some time, whenever Android proponents argued for the platform’s dominance based on handsets shipped, Apple fans would counter by pointing out the iPhone was tops in profits.

Indeed, a new report shows Apple had more than half of all mobile profits during the first quarter of 2013, leading Android handset rival Samsung.

According to Canaccord Genuity, the iPhone maker came away from this year’s first period with 57 percent of mobile phone profits, despite having just eight percent of the worldwide handset market share.

By contrast, South Korea’s Samsung – which leads in market share – earned just 43 percent of the share of profits. However, the two companies could soon switch positions. The analyst firm claims iPhone sales will be weak in the upcoming June quarter, overshadowed by profits fueled by Samsung’s new Galaxy S4… Read More


Apple to begin producing multiple new iPhones next month, per Morgan Stanley

By Ed Sutherland on May 8, 2013

A well-known Wall Street Apple observer expects Apple’s manufacturing partners to start producing multiple new iPhone models in June or July, with the new smartphones introduced around September.

While the analyst note meshes with today’s report of Sharp gearing up to begin mass production of the iPhone 5S screens next month and other reports mentioning multiple iPhones on Apple’s roadmap, what’s perhaps most interesting is word that any drop-off in iPhone demand seems to be over.

And in her additional remarks bolstered by others, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty tells investors Wednesday that Apple could sell many iPhones in China even if the device were not priced cheaply… Read More


iPad mini 2 Retina screens reportedly entering mass-production next month

By Christian Zibreg on May 7, 2013

NPD DisplaySearch is on a roll. After reporting yesterday that Apple could release two Retina-enabled iPad mini models – one in the second half of this year and another in the first quarter of 2014 with an updated processor, the display market researcher tell CNET today they think those high-resolution Retina panels for the second-generation iPad mini could go into mass-production soon, as early as June or July of this year.

If true, and assuming satisfactory yield rates, Apple should be able to ready its first Retina iPad mini for a Fall introduction, a time frame KGI Securities’ well-informed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently outlined based on his own sources… Read More


Apple missing some 2.8 billion potential iPhone customers due to carrier demands

By Ed Sutherland on May 6, 2013

Much talk surrounding Apple has centered on a cooling consumer demand for its flagship product, the iPhone smartphone. However, it may be time to shift the narrative to feet-dragging by a number of global operators that could hold the key to as many as 2.8 billion iPhone customers, according to a Monday report.

Instead of a slowdown in demand, a Monday report by Bloomberg suggests the larger problem is vastly limited access to customers. Two numbers go far to tell the story: 240 and 800. While Apple has 240 carrier agreements throughout the world, rival Samsung has inked deals with virtually every of the 800 wireless providers. Indeed, Apple is lacking agreements to boost sales of the iPhone in some of the most-populated regions, including China, Japan, India and Russia… Read More


NPD DisplaySearch sees two Retina iPad minis

By Christian Zibreg on May 6, 2013

NPD DisplaySearch knows its display supply chain inside out and while they may not be the most accurate source of Apple rumors, more often than not their predictions have proved pretty accurate. In a report filed yesterday, DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim was quoted as saying that Apple is readying not one, but two Retina-capable iPad mini models, “one in the second half of this year, then one in the first quarter of 2014”Read More

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