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RBC sees 3G, new carrier model driving iPhone sales of 14M

post #1 of 36
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After meeting with top Apple brass at an event, RBC Capital Markets' Mike Abramsky claims that the electronics maker may shake up its existing business model for the iPhone and should easily pass its sales target for 2008, especially once 3G devices become available.

The analyst notes that optimism for the iPhone's future was buoyed by a gathering late last week which saw Apple's iPhone marketer Greg Joswiak, chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer, and Mac desktop manager Tom Boger all meet the financial institution.

While mum on details of what was discussed at the event, Abramsky says RBC now has "further conviction" about Apple's plans and anticipates the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm selling as many as 14 million iPhones during 2008, easily surpassing the official estimate of 10 million units.

The revision comes from a newfound belief that Apple might alter its existing sales strategy to accommodate both carriers and users: where the company has insisted on a fixed price and revenue sharing, it may loosen its restrictions after encountering resistance to its present approach in some areas.

The company "may be planning to allow subsidized pricing, diminishing carrier exclusivity... and supporting global unlocked iphone sales," Abramsky claims, explaining that Apple could also reduce the revenue it shares from monthly plans or even drop the split entirely to secure some carriers' support.

Such a move could lift iPhone sales momentum by as much as 50 or 100 percent, he adds. An official backing of unlocked devices through sales in Apple retail stores and certain carriers could improve international sales by two to three times, according to the prediction.

Apple has increasingly shown a willingness to veer from its familiar approach in public statements and apparent leaks. Chief operating officer Tim Cook explained in February that the company is not locked to one strategy for pairing the iPhone with carriers and on Monday saw his statements echoed by T-Mobile Austria, which now says it may institute flexible pricing for the device itself.

Rethinking its strategy is also all but necessary to bring the iPhone to China, as the country's leading carrier China Mobile is currently refusing talks on the grounds that revenue sharing with a foreign business violates Chinese customs.

Abramsky nonetheless stresses that the device itself is likely to be a significant factor: the widely anticipated 3G-capable iPhone is still predicted to arrive in June and should serve as a catalyst for adoption, particularly with added enterprise and third-party software support built into the version 2.0 iPhone software. Key features that could accompany the update, such as video calling or GPS, could improve some sales -- though carrier bandwidth costs could reportedly push Apple away from offering downloadable movies, the analyst says.

The report also observes that any factor in Apple growth, whether carrier adoption or device acceptance, isn't likely to be impeded by an existing monopoly. Most countries have multiple compatible carriers, while the fractured nature of the device market itself means that no one company can claim absolute control. This is seen as giving Apple an opening it doesn't have with its Mac computer line.

"Unlike the PC market, in the fast-expanding Smartphone market Apple faces no incumbent (like Microsoft), creating an opportunity for Apple to take share from existing voice handset vendors like Motorola," Abramsky says.
post #2 of 36
Can someone help me?

Is the AT&T agreement with the 1.0 Version iPhone, or with any domestic iPhone? Is is possible that SJobs could release subsequent phones in the US without the carrier agreement?
post #3 of 36
How can they be "mum about the details of the event". I thought public companies were not allowed to make private disclosures to financial institutions any more?
post #4 of 36
Abramsky is a flat out liar.

Quote:
After meeting with top Apple brass at an event, RBC Capital Markets' Mike Abramsky claims that the electronics maker may shake up its existing business model for the iPhone and should easily pass its sales target for 2008, especially once 3G devices become available.

There's simply no way in Hades any 'top brass' would fill this guy in on future Apple plans.

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post #5 of 36
14 Million is conservative in my opinion, by the time Christmas rolls around the iPhone could be gone global (officially) and the 3G phone should encourage a surge of sales. I wouldn't be surprised to see the iPhone exceed 20 million units in 2008.

If it gets 32GB, 3G, real GPS and an OLED screen then the sky's the limit. If that was the case then I'd bet iPhone sales would go through the roof.
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post #6 of 36
Wow... I've said for a long time now that Apple needs 3G STAT, and that the 'single-carrier exclusive' business model was holding them back.

Funny how last year's heresy becomes today's conventional wisdom.


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post #7 of 36
You see, that's the thing.

I don't recall anyone calling 3G heresy. They just didn't think coming out with EDGE first was some horrible, horrible idea, especially given apple's own statements at the the iPhone's announcement that 3G would be coming down the pipe.
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post #8 of 36
Oh geez, the need for 3G, even for the European launch, got pooh-poohed so many times I lost count. Which was often followed by the ever popular (and ever wrong), "But it's got WiFi! It doesn't NEED 3G!!!"

Even Teno, who now has undergone a slight conversion for the better regarding 3G, originally said Apple could wait "two years" before going 3G, and it wouldn't be a problem... and he wasn't alone in that sentiment. I've also heard the current, limited feature set defended to the death, even now. Single-carrier exclusives? Still has its defenders, even though it really only made sense for the US launch.

So yeah, I am kind of a heretic. Oh well. Someone has to be.



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post #9 of 36
3G iPhone will be the biggest and hottest product launch of 2008.
post #10 of 36
what they may do is be short time exclusive--1-3months for carrier A and they bid for it.

once 3G comes, what's holding ANYONE or anymarket from surging, then once this concept is realized, then its spread the details over more models,, e.g christmas and voila instant megamillions sold
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post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The company "may be planning to allow subsidized pricing, diminishing carrier exclusivity... and supporting global unlocked iphone sales," Abramsky claims

Would this apply to everywhere the iPhone is sold, as in the U.S. where AT&T has exclusive carrier agreement with Apple or is this new sales philosophy for Europe, Asia, China, South America, etc.?

Is it still AT&T for us? What does anyone else out there think?

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post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

Would this apply to everywhere the iPhone is sold, as in the U.S. where AT&T has exclusive carrier agreement with Apple or is this new sales philosophy for Europe, Asia, China, South America, etc.?

Is it still AT&T for us? What does anyone else out there think?

If it isn't I'll have an iPhone as soon as the new one comes out. If it is, I'll have one next year this time.
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post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

Would this apply to everywhere the iPhone is sold, as in the U.S. where AT&T has exclusive carrier agreement with Apple or is this new sales philosophy for Europe, Asia, China, South America, etc.?

Is it still AT&T for us? What does anyone else out there think?


Pretty sure the ATT deal is ironclad for at least the first two years, i.e. mid-2007 to mid-2009.

Originally it was reported as being five years, but the news coverage later shifted and started saying two years. What they learned that caused the change, I don't know. Apple and ATT have been cagey about releasing details of their deal to the public... they both have used the term "multi-year exclusive" a lot.

But hey, two years is 'multi-year', isn't it? Not that this sort of language is to be trusted in any case.


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post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Oh geez, the need for 3G, even for the European launch, got pooh-poohed so many times I lost count. Which was often followed by the ever popular (and ever wrong), "But it's got WiFi! It doesn't NEED 3G!!!"

Even Teno, who now has undergone a slight conversion for the better regarding 3G, originally said Apple could wait "two years" before going 3G, and it wouldn't be a problem... and he wasn't alone in that sentiment. I've also heard the current, limited feature set defended to the death, even now. Single-carrier exclusives? Still has its defenders, even though it really only made sense for the US launch.

So yeah, I am kind of a heretic. Oh well. Someone has to be.



.

There were and still are perfectly valid reasons for opting for 2.5G & limited feature set.
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

There were and still are perfectly valid reasons for opting for 2.5G & limited feature set.

TBaggins seems to think the fact that Apple is coming out with a 3G iPhone is evidence that Apple made a mistake with the original iPhone.

I simply don't see the evidence that indicates that that bit of convoluted logic is true.
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post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Even Teno, who now has undergone a slight conversion for the better regarding 3G, originally said Apple could wait "two years" before going 3G, and it wouldn't be a problem... and he wasn't alone in that sentiment. I've also heard the current, limited feature set defended to the death, even now. Single-carrier exclusives? Still has its defenders, even though it really only made sense for the US launch.

You've gone back to taking my statements out of context. We've already gone over this ad-nauseam.

Much of the defense of Apple's iPhone launch was for the short term. I doubt anyone thought Apple would or should continue this policy for the long term. It was understood Apple would need to change as all business needs to change and adapt to competition in the market.

Now that Apple is changing to meet the changes in the market you attempt to use this as proof that Apple should not have had this strategy in the first place. That is not entirely true.

The strategy has worked as Apple has earned over a billion in deferred revenue in less than a year.
post #17 of 36
I just wonder if these guys pull speculation out of the analyst echo chamber and repeat it. If enough of them do it often enough, it might seem like it's a sure thing when the original source might have just made up a guess and no one else that repeated it would admit to running with someone else's speculation.

All this stuff is interesting, but just try not to get carried away. People expect too much and that excessive exuberance is probably going to tarnish your acceptance of what's still a solid product.
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


"Unlike the PC market, in the fast-expanding Smartphone market Apple faces no incumbent (like Microsoft.....

Nokia, SonyEricsson, Samsung etc may not be Microsofts in their product-market category, but to casually dismiss the power of incumbency of companies like that tells me that this guy is talking nonsense.
post #19 of 36
Is there any place else that Apple is selling to that uses CDMA? If so then maybe just maybe there will be a world phone that has both CDMA and GSM.

If so then iPhones on Verizon is a given since they will allow any phone on there networks soon. The open question would be the cost of a data plan although they would have to be competitive with AT&T.
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

You've gone back to taking my statements out of context. We've already gone over this ad-nauseam.

Much of the defense of Apple's iPhone launch was for the short term. I doubt anyone thought Apple would or should continue this policy for the long term. It was understood Apple would need to change as all business needs to change and adapt to competition in the market.

Now that Apple is changing to meet the changes in the market you attempt to use this as proof that Apple should not have had this strategy in the first place. That is not entirely true.

The strategy has worked as Apple has earned over a billion in deferred revenue in less than a year.

It appears, Apple may have played AT&T like it played the record labels. Not exactly, but being new to the cell phone game, Jobs' knew he had to play nice with someone. Offer exclusivity to them, then pull the rug out from them once the iPhone gained acceptance. Well, I'm not sure about the details of the agreement, but Jobs can be very convincing as we all know.
post #21 of 36
I'm really hoping this 14 million iPhones sales projection is not going to be a problem for Apple. Next thing I'll hear is that WS will have 14 million as the whisper number and if Apple doesn't make this mark, investors are going to be disappointed. I think that RBC is correct that Apple will actually sell that many iPhones, but they should have been a bit more conservative to say 12 million and then Apple would blow that figure away. Now if Apple could blow away that 14 million figure, then we'd all do a victory dance at the end of the year.

I really hope the 3G iPhone has two cameras with iChat. If that were to happen, the iPhone would just leave all the other handsets in the dust for social networking. I'm still trying to figure out what is going to be the killer app that drives iPhone sales. VOIP? Exchange support? Some game that uses the accelerometers? C'mon Apple. Make the iPhone the most desired handset on the planet.
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Next thing I'll hear is that WS will have 14 million as the whisper number and if Apple doesn't make this mark, investors are going to be disappointed.

That sounds about right.

Quote:
I'm still trying to figure out what is going to be the killer app that drives iPhone sales.

Besides the Exchange Support, I think it's the app that connects to the App Store.
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post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


Besides the Exchange Support, I think it's the app that connects to the App Store.

According to Scott Bourne on MacBreak Weekly Podcast, there's a new IM Chat app that is Twitter like.
Jim Cramer from the Street.com says an app called 'Conversation' that is going to bring Apple to the forefront of instant messaging.
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by satchmo View Post

According to Scott Bourne on MacBreak Weekly Podcast, there's a new IM Chat app that is Twitter like.
Jim Cramer from the Street.com says an app called 'Conversation' that is going to bring Apple to the forefront of instant messaging.

I wouldn't use Cramer as a source for technical fortune telling. I've heard this app called Conversation before, I think it was from Apple.

the SDK keynote highlighted an AIM app for the iPhone and we've had a patent show up recently so I expect an Apple version covering the main IM clients come v2.0. This may also include a Twitter or Twitter-like social networking aspect to this app, but I don't see Twitter's multicast social networking the app.

edit: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=473818
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post #25 of 36
Quote:
The revision comes from a newfound belief that Apple might alter its existing sales strategy to accommodate both carriers and users: where the company has insisted on a fixed price and revenue sharing, it may loosen its restrictions after encountering resistance to its present approach in some areas.

The company "may be planning to allow subsidized pricing, diminishing carrier exclusivity... and supporting global unlocked iphone sales," Abramsky claims, explaining that Apple could also reduce the revenue it shares from monthly plans or even drop the split entirely to secure some carriers' support.

Such a move could lift iPhone sales momentum by as much as 50 or 100 percent, he adds. An official backing of unlocked devices through sales in Apple retail stores and certain carriers could improve international sales by two to three times, according to the prediction.


Should it all come true, then Apple could become a normal company which goes out to maximize its market share. What a change from inflated prices and the rumored ATT revenue sharing agreement.

Let's hope for the best. The oracle has seen the light...

post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon View Post

Is there any place else that Apple is selling to that uses CDMA? If so then maybe just maybe there will be a world phone that has both CDMA and GSM.

If so then iPhones on Verizon is a given since they will allow any phone on there networks soon. The open question would be the cost of a data plan although they would have to be competitive with AT&T.

CDMA is dead, people are taking down their CDMA networks. Apple would never make a combination phone because their is no market and it would be bulky and expensive.
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

CDMA is dead, people are taking down their CDMA networks. Apple would never make a combination phone because their is no market and it would be bulky and expensive.


CDMA is dead? Wow, news to me. CDMA is still #1 in the US, it's important in Korea, and there's over 430 million CDMA users worldwide. Yes, GSM is much more popular overseas, but even still, CDMA has far more worldwide marketshare in wireless than Apple does in computers.

Technically, both CDMA and GSM will be dead in a few years. Most carriers will likely move to LTE, an OFDM-based technology. For example, in the US, both Verizon (CDMA) and ATT (GSM) have already announced plans to do so.

WiMax will be somewhere in the mix too, but one of its big champions in the US (Sprint) has fallen on very hard times of late...


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post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder View Post

TBaggins seems to think the fact that Apple is coming out with a 3G iPhone is evidence that Apple made a mistake with the original iPhone.


Nah, not so much. 2.5G and single-carrier exclusive has been 'good enough' (in the Microsoft sense of the term) for the US launch, though we will see one awesome spike in sales both here and in Europe when the 3G model launches, and I bet Apple now wishes the exclusivity period with ATT was shorter.

Though I do have to wonder if US sales are quite as strong as we all like to think... after all, ATT reported that only 900k iPhones were activated on its network in Q4 '07, out of 2.3 million sold. Just how many iPhones are bought here only to be shipped out of country, unlocked, and with no Apple-carrier revenue-sharing agreement? \

But the obvious error was essentially repeating the US launch in Europe (2.5G US model offered, single-carrier in each nation), as sales have born out. And the limited feature set continues to be a bummer. The new iPhone and 2.0 software can't arrive soon enough.

/me happy that June and WWDC are almost here


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post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Much of the defense of Apple's iPhone launch was for the short term. I doubt anyone thought Apple would or should continue this policy for the long term.


Oh, you're kidding. Revisionist history aside, many people swallowed the at-the-time Apple party line regarding 3G, 3G vs WiFi, feature sets, and the single-carrier exclusive biz model hook, line, and sinker... including yourself, for a time. And you still see people even now claiming 3G is unnecessary, the current iPhone feature set is "fine", single-carrier is good, etc. etc. Doesn't sound like a short-term strategy to me if some still think it's the way to go even these days.

But I am happy that you've come around.


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post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Oh, you're kidding. Revisionist history aside, many people swallowed the at-the-time Apple party line regarding 3G, 3G vs WiFi, feature sets, and the single-carrier exclusive biz model hook, line, and sinker... including yourself, for a time. And you still see people even now claiming 3G is unnecessary, the current iPhone feature set is "fine", single-carrier is good, etc. etc. Doesn't sound like a short-term strategy to me if some still think it's the way to go even these days.

Its not revisionist history. You have selective memory.

I said from the beginning and restated repeatedly. That I could understand Apple partnering with carriers in the beginning. But I doubt Apple would continue these partnership indefinitely.
post #31 of 36
Very likely that we see a new deal with AT&T - one where you can get a cheap/free iPhone from AT&T with a 2-year contract, or you can get a full price phone from Apple, that you can use on any network.

I also think Apple will likely forego the revenue sharing agreement with AT&T in exchange for allowing unlocked phones.

This could be a win-win for AT&T, Apple, customers, and even other phone companies. But the biggest winner would be Apple, because of the tremendous increase in market share that this would mean.

Apple has been targetting 1% of global cell phone marketshare in 2008. I think considering the pent up demand globally, their year end sales figure will only be a function of how fast they can ship the phones out - I bet that Apple cant make these phones fast enough.

On the iPhone vs the Blackberry - I think Blackberry will have to dramatically up its game in the next 6 months, or else they are dead. If Apple launches the phone with multiple form-factors, including some with QWERTY keyboard, and clamshell, then Blackberry would be dead no matter what they do.
post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Its not revisionist history. You have selective memory.

I said from the beginning and restated repeatedly. That I could understand Apple partnering with carriers in the beginning. But I doubt Apple would continue these partnership indefinitely.


C'mon Teno, even you yourself have admitted that your mind has changed a bit on some things. It's not a weakness... being able to modify your PoV when confronted with new data is a strength, not a weakness.

I am, however, glad that you're not saying that Apple can go two years without 3G anymore. It would be a very bad idea in Europe and Asia, and eventually in the US as well.

Oh, and it is certainly revisionist to say that the party line back at the US launch was that 2.5G, limited features, and single-carrier was good only as an initial US launch thing. Many ppl seemed quite convinced otherwise, some still are.

Or were you unconscious for the entire 2.5G vs 3G, limited features vs more features debate for the Euro launch?


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post #33 of 36
Opening up iPhone SDK might seem like a iPhone only issue at the moment. However, there is another important aspect - this is the FIRST time in years that there will be significant development community interest in anything Apple. And quite a bit of those developers will be business developers - building enterprise applications for the iPhone. I dont think anyone understands how profoundly this can impact the entire Apple ecosystem. This should be the catalyst that finally propels Mac marketshare to double digits and even higher.

The PC market is about 70 million units a year, with Windows having about 90% market share, or about 63 million units. Mac had just 3% market share, so it was insignificant. But if you consider that the iPod Touch, AppleTV, iPhone are all MacOS at the end of the day, and apps written for one should run on any platform, MacOS market share would become very significant. For this purpose, we can ignore Windows Mobile, as it is quite unsuccessful in the market. If Apple can hit 5% of global phone sales with the iPhone, MacOS would be close to, or possibly even more than Windows, in terms of overall installations.

And then the only thing Apple needs to do, would be to convert the MacMini platform into the CarMac, for installation in Automobiles. I can imagine Steve Jobs in his black turtleneck deriding the entire Auto entertainment industry as belonging to the last century, and unveiling a sleek black CarMac - with solid state memory for instant reboot, a built in retractable multi-touch touchscreen, offering not just entertainment, but also other functionality like navigation, reverse cameras, bluetooth phone support, car readouts, etc - that are now found only in the premium segment.

Ah -- the world is there to be conquered, Steve -- all you have to do, is to desire to conquer it!
post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by macarena View Post


And then the only thing Apple needs to do, would be to convert the MacMini platform into the CarMac, for installation in Automobiles. I can imagine Steve Jobs in his black turtleneck deriding the entire Auto entertainment industry as belonging to the last century, and unveiling a sleek black CarMac - with solid state memory for instant reboot, a built in retractable multi-touch touchscreen, offering not just entertainment, but also other functionality like navigation, reverse cameras, bluetooth phone support, car readouts, etc - that are now found only in the premium segment.

Ah -- the world is there to be conquered, Steve -- all you have to do, is to desire to conquer it!

Dude that is a crazy idea. Who in the world would want a mac in their car?
In other news I am currently drawing up plans to install an upgraded mini and 3 lcd panels in my mini van. I am tired of using portable dvd players and portable gps units etc when I can have an all in one solution.
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post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post


But hey, two years is 'multi-year', isn't it? Not that this sort of language is to be trusted in any case.


.

In that case, 13 months could be considered multi-year as it spans more than one year. Hell, even 367 days could satisfy that requirement (366 in a non-leap year year)...
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post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The strategy has worked as Apple has earned over a billion in deferred revenue in less than a year.

Deferred revenue is just an accounting sideshow --- Apple could have booked every single cent in their current quarters.
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