KGI: iPhone sales forecast at 73M for Q4 ahead of Apple Watch debut in March, 12" MacBook Air in Q1

Posted:
in Feedback edited January 2015
Apple is forecast to have shipped a whopping 73 million iPhones over the 2014 holiday quarter on strong iPhone 6 demand, according to one well-connected analyst who also expects a busy start to 2015 for the company, with Apple Watch sales in March and a rumored 12-inch MacBook Air coming sometime before April.




In a research note from well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo obtained by AppleInsider, Apple's latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models led a charge to 73 million overall unit sales for the quarter ending December. The analyst estimates the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 to hit more than 42 million, while the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 "phablet" contributed with just over 16 million unit sales.

If the numbers hold up, Apple is in for a record-smashing holiday quarter. Kuo's estimates are well above expectations from other leading investment banks including UBS, which earlier this month forecast Apple to sell 69 million iPhones.

Momentum from Apple's iPhone 6 lineup will spill into the first quarter, driving overall iPhone shipments to an about 61.7 million unit sales. A performance of that caliber would buffer seasonally slow sales.

Apple Watch Complications


Consistent with the latest reports, Kuo also expects the highly anticipated Apple Watch to launch in March. While Apple has stayed mum on exact specifications, the company could fill in the blanks with a special announcement prior to the device's debut, the analyst said.

Assuming a March launch, Apple Watch is expected to sell 2.8 million units in the first quarter, meaning those sales will be spread across a relatively short one-month span. Kuo says most component suppliers will see shipments in the 4 million to 5 million unit range through the March quarter, but a few manufacturers are seeing low yields on key parts, slowing down final assembly and shipping.

On Apple's rumored 12-inch MacBook Air with Retina display, Kuo is forecasting a ship-by date sometime this quarter. The all-new thin-and-light, said to sport a Retina display, ultra-thin form factor and Intel's latest mobile chips, will help fuel a 2.6-percent quarter-over-quarter increase in Mac shipments. Kuo expects Mac sales to hit 6 million units for the first three months of 2015, up slightly from 5.9 million forecast for Q4 2014.

Aside from industry scuttlebutt, not much is known about Apple's ultraportable newcomer. A set of photos posted online yesterday purportedly show the laptop's display assembly, which boasts edge-to-edge glass with black bezels and eschews the usual translucent Apple logo for a polished insert more in line with the latest iOS devices.



Finally, Kuo sees drooping sell through for iPad as Apple's recently released iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 models largely failed to move the needle during the holiday season. For the December quarter, estimates put iPad shipments down 17.8 percent year-over-year to 21.4 million units. Moving into the first quarter of 2015, iPad could hit 10.1 million unit sales, but the number is still weak, down 38 percent compared to the same time last year.

Interestingly, Kuo models a rise in shipments for older iPad versions during the March quarter while at the same time revising down previous estimates of iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. The analyst adjusted his numbers to reflect challenges Apple's tablet is facing with shifting market headwinds.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member



    Nothing better than over-the-top predictions to get a market set for disappointment, even when the actual results end up breaking records.

  • Reply 2 of 66
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,020member

    Here's why AAPL is going to tank immediately afterwards... one of two possibilities:



    The meet or exceed crazy-high numbers, analysts cite iPhone market has saturated.  AAPL tanks.



    Apple barely, or just slightly misses analysts crazy-high predictions.  No one wants iPhones anymore.  AAPL tanks.

  • Reply 3 of 66
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     

    Here's why AAPL is going to tank immediately afterwards... one of two possibilities:



    The meet or exceed crazy-high numbers, analysts cite iPhone market has saturated.  AAPL tanks.



    Apple barely, or just slightly misses analysts crazy-high predictions.  No one wants iPhones anymore.  AAPL tanks.


     

    Or, like the Beatles in 1964... Apple is "too popular".... They'll never make good music again, they're a fad... Sell everything... Apple stocks, Beatles collectables... Fire sales... Sell Sell Sell...

     

    Oh, my, the Beatles sell 1B records over the next 40 years...

    ... Apple crushes everyone and their mother for the next 10 years...

     

    Oh, well.... Maybe they can now sell their Tijuana Brass records to not sleep in a box in 2020, or Google stocks, whichever' worth more at that time ;-).

  • Reply 4 of 66

    Quote:



     Interestingly, Kuo models a rise in shipments for older iPad versions during the March quarter while at the same time revising down previous estimates of iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 down. The analyst adjusted his numbers to reflect challenges Apple's tablet is facing with shifting market headwinds.


    That's because the Mini 2 and Air are very good value tablets right now.

     

    My guess is that the GTAT deal is going to really put a crimp in the supplies of sapphire crystal screens Apple will need.

  • Reply 5 of 66
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    Boy, I dunno about Apple losing the backlit Logo from their laptops. Just don't seem right.

    http://www.apple.com/macbook-air/stickers/

  • Reply 6 of 66

    I would think that an analyst would talk in terms of fiscal quarters and not in annual quarters.

  • Reply 7 of 66
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    But those antenna bands, and camera bump....and losing the high ground on software quality.....
  • Reply 8 of 66
    maxitmaxit Posts: 222member
    IPhone 6 is a very huge commercial success....
  • Reply 9 of 66
    With so many high estimates there's no room for error. That's not good, everybody has their finger on the sell trigger.
  • Reply 10 of 66

    I am not sure that they'll get to that number because of the constraints of supply.

     

    They have managed only to catch up with demand in late November/December and as they have stated there is still pent up demand that will flow into the 1Q15.

     

    It will be interesting to see what the actual numbers will be BUT I am sure it will be the best quarter ever for Apple and maybe even the pundits that look to future earnings on Apples prices will see that Apple has a stable base and has a lot coming along in the pipeline....

     

    As for the Apple watch...not so sure about that. 19h battery will be an issue I think more so than people think. Its a little different to a phone from the point of charging and the link to the iPhone (while a good business reason to sell more iPhones) may limit its ultimate usability.

     

    Interesting times and I'll watch (pun not intended) with amusement...

     

    Cheers Dr Hawk

  • Reply 11 of 66
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Finally, Kuo sees drooping sell through for iPad as Apple's recently released iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 models largely failed to move the needle during the holiday season. 

    I have purchased a number of iPads since their introduction and I wanted to love them but I just didn't. Personally,  I find them quite frustrating to use except for very casual reading, mostly while traveling, keeping up with the news, entertainment type web surfing and maybe quick email or messaging, but even in that capacity I still prefer a regular Mac notebook or simply just an iPhone. The slipping sales figures are no surprise to me. Nice idea but the reality is that the platform is too limited for most professional or educational uses. iPad just isn't good enough to replace a MacBook, but I still carry both whenever I travel. I'm not sure why I bother with the iPad. My daily activities are, on the go with an iPhone or sitting at desk with a MBP. I don't often find a need for that in between iPad scenario.

  • Reply 12 of 66
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,686member
    The Mac sales estimates are impressive.
  • Reply 13 of 66
    pfisherpfisher Posts: 758member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     

    Here's why AAPL is going to tank immediately afterwards... one of two possibilities:



    The meet or exceed crazy-high numbers, analysts cite iPhone market has saturated.  AAPL tanks.



    Apple barely, or just slightly misses analysts crazy-high predictions.  No one wants iPhones anymore.  AAPL tanks.


    Probably both.

     

    It's a good time to buy energy stocks/funds. Eventually, they will go up.

     

    Why would you want to buy Apple when it may be getting harder and harder to increase their sales/profits by a higher percentage? Of course, no one knows when Apple will peak on sales and they will probably go up for some time, but I can't see huge growth anymore.

     

    Apple has done a lot already. Phenomenal products and sales, stock split and dividends and buy backs. iPad is declining/maturing. MacBook sales will continue to grow. AppleTV? Who know. Phones: sales will increase again, but maybe not so much. 

     

    I thought Apple stocks always went down after earnings were reported? At least they used to.

     

    If the market corrects, and it will eventually, Apple will come down, too.

  • Reply 14 of 66
    pfisherpfisher Posts: 758member

    I believe it wasn't too long ago that Apple didn't sell more than a million Macs a year. 

     

    Then it was 2 million a year.

     

    Then 2 million a quarter.

     

    Now we might soon see 2 million Macs a month.

     

    No one talks about this. It's all about the phone.

     

    Oh, yeah, Apple stocks could fall because Apple is too dependent on iPhone for sales. That's what some people think.

  • Reply 15 of 66
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,243member
    Good article: "Apple Watch: Novelty or Necessity"
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/11365474/Apple-Watch-novelty-or-necessity.html
    Being a decades long Apple fan, I'm not convinced this will be a huge seller. Millennials don't wear watches, and affluent individuals will likely keep their TAG Heuer, Patek Philippe and Rolex watches.
    We'll know soon enough.
  • Reply 16 of 66
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    On John Gruber's latest podcast he says he's heard second hand that Apple is still having issues with bugs and battery life with ?Watch. He said he would be surprised if it ships in March. If that's the case it really makes me think they announced it last year to appease Wall Street more than anything. Tim Cook promised new product categories in 2014 and if all Apple announced was ?Pay I think the stock would have taken a beating.
  • Reply 17 of 66
    irun262irun262 Posts: 121member
    ronbo wrote: »

    Nothing better than over-the-top predictions to get a market set for disappointment, even when the actual results end up breaking records.

    As an AAPL investor, that's the very first thing that came into my mind as well.
  • Reply 18 of 66
    irun262irun262 Posts: 121member
    realcool wrote: »
    With so many high estimates there's no room for error. That's not good, everybody has their finger on the sell trigger.

    I have been thinking about buying a significantly larger amount of stock, but now I wonder if that would be a mistake
  • Reply 19 of 66
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    rogifan wrote: »
    On John Gruber's latest podcast he says he's heard second hand that Apple is still having issues with bugs and battery life with ?Watch. He said he would be surprised if it ships in March. If that's the case it really makes me think they announced it last year to appease Wall Street more than anything. Tim Cook promised new product categories in 2014 and if all Apple announced was ?Pay I think the stock would have taken a beating.

    1) I don't think Cook gives a rat's ass about appeasing the chuckleheads on Wall Street.

    2) As i've stated and detailed many times, Apple have a long history of giving plenty of notice when it comes to new, major product types. There are surely plenty of reasons why Apple does that, but I believe the primary reason for this and many other of their new product types — especially with their current mindshare — is because they need to get in front of something they will be producing in bulk because they can't reasonably control every potential security breach from all their vendors.

    3) Note it was rumoured the iPhone didn't even have the YouTube player or Corning's alkali-aluminosilicate sheet toughened glass until very close to launch. I doubt there aren't plenty of changes Apple is wanting to help make their launch even better, but like the Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad announcements long before their launch date I have to assume they have likely figured out the major aspects before giving up launch window.
  • Reply 20 of 66
    irun262irun262 Posts: 121member
    mstone wrote: »
    I have purchased a number of iPads since their introduction and I wanted to love them but I just didn't. Personally,  I find them quite frustrating to use except for very casual reading, mostly while traveling, keeping up with the news, entertainment type web surfing and maybe quick email or messaging, but even in that capacity I still prefer a regular Mac notebook or simply just an iPhone. The slipping sales figures are no surprise to me. Nice idea but the reality is that the platform is too limited for most professional or educational uses. iPad just isn't good enough to replace a MacBook, but I still carry both whenever I travel. I'm not sure why I bother with the iPad. My daily activities are, on the go with an iPhone or sitting at desk with a MBP. I don't often find a need for that in between iPad scenario.

    Now that I have an iPhone 6 Plus, I'm not even tempted to buy an iPad. My MBA can do everything else.
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