Analyst calls for an Apple Watch with new casing materials by fourth quarter

Apple Watch closeup 003

The current aluminum Apple Watch Sport, the stainless steel Apple Watch and the 18-karat rose/yellow gold Apple Watch Edition may be joined by up to three additional editions of the device featuring new casing materials, according to revered Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.

“Aside from current casing materials of aluminium, stainless steel and 18k gold, we believe up to three new versions of Apple Watch featuring new casing materials are likely to go into mass production in the fourth quarter of 2015,” reads Kuo’s note to clients a copy of which was obtained by iDownloadBlog.

The analyst did not specify which new materials the company might use for upcoming Watch casings, but did underscore that new casing options available to consumers will help boost Watch sales in 2016.

For what it’s worth, traditional watch makers have explored materials like white gold, titanium, carbon fiber, rubber, ceramic and custom alloys. The device, Kuo said, will “focus on verifying whether the user behavior and business model are right.”

He is expecting about six million Watch sales in the first six months of this year, with a total of twenty million shipments throughout 2015 versus the market consensus of up to thirty million Watches for the calendar year.

Apple Watch closeup 004

As for the newly-announced MacBook with a twelve-inch Retina screen, available in silver, space grey and gold finishes, Kuo thinks other computer vendors would be wise to adopt the ultra-thin, ultra-light form factor as the future of notebooks.

The analyst is predicting nearly half a million twelve-inch MacBook sales in the first half of this year. By comparison, sales of all Mac models are expected to top ten million for the first two quarters of 2015.

As for the machine’s single USB-Type C port replacing I/O ports like MagSafe, Thunderbolt and standard USB, he called it “a potential inconvenience.”

“Despite limited near-term contribution to the supply chain, we believe the product will prompt the market to refocus on the thin and light form factor design trend, including metal casing, hinge, fanless thermal system, USB Type-C and thinner keyboard and display panel,” reads the note.

Twelve inch MacBook Gold closeup 001

Despite the Apple Watch and twelve-inch MacBook garnering “mixed reviews,” the analyst sees both products as having “outstanding designs.”

“Considering pricing and supply chain constraints in the foreseeable future, we believe shipments momentum is capped near term,” he cautioned.

Kuo’s report echoes a recent scoop by the Wall Street Journal which cited people familiar with the Cupertino firm’s plans as saying that Apple has studied platinum Watch models.