Morgan Stanley sees Apple's 'iPhone Xs' offseting threat of longer replacement cycles

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 7
Morgan Stanley's expectations for Apple's "Gather Round" iPhone event are relatively muted, but the impact of new iPhone models could be both a negative and a positive for Apple on a full-year basis, due to the effects of lengthening smartphone replacement cycles and the huge potential for older iPhones to be upgraded to newer versions.

iPhone Xs mockup


On what is to be expected at the September 12 event, a report from Morgan Stanley Research analysts provided to AppleInsider generally agrees with current rumors and speculation, with three iPhone models consisting of the OLED-based 5.8-inch OLED "iPhone Xs," the 6.5-inch OLED "plus" sized version, and a lower-cost 6.1-inch LCD model.

It is also expected that the Apple Watch Series 4 will make an appearance, as well as an updated 11-inch bezel-less iPad Pro with Face ID, and some form of update to the company's Mac product lines.

The analysts are unsure on whether Apple will show off the AirPower wireless charging mat at the event, but notes that the timing could make sense as it was initially shown at last year's September event.

Expectations for iPhone shipments are apparently being muted by a "recent lengthening of smartphone replacement cycles," with the claim the cycles have elongated from two years to three years over the last 24 months. The analysts cite carriers moving away from two-year contracts and high subsidies of handsets, as well as improvements to overall device quality, as factors behind the changes.

As evidence, the analysts point to unit declines in global smartphone shipments for the last three quarters, after over a decade of growth. The forecast for iPhone shipment growth is a deceleration to 0.6 percent, equating 220 million units, for the full year 2019, down from 0.9-percent year-on-year growth for the full year 2018.

The report does cite a few reasons that could positively impact iPhone growth for 2019. First is an argument that the replacement cycles could lengthen at a slower pace, citing consumer changes in using a smartphone as a primary device instead of a tablet or smartphone, resulting in increased usage and a need for "near-peak performance" to be maintained, which could prevent cycles from reaching four years, like PC ownership cycles.

Another reason is the analysts' estimate of 46 percent of the current iPhone base owns an iPhone 6s or older, equating to approximately 300 million iPhones that are at least 3 years old and in need of an upgrade.

Lastly, the addition of new technologies, including edge-to-edge displays, Face ID, and wireless charging, will be a greater incentive for users to upgrade their phone" over the next year.

Morgan Stanley goes on to suggest that investors are concerned about average selling prices for iPhones could decline in 2019, in part due to the launch of the LCD model as a value proposition. The analysts estimated earlier this year that the ASP could go down 2 percent year-on-year, based on if the OLED iPhones were sold at $899 and $999 respectively by size, while the LCD is sold for $669.

Taking into account Apple's comments that the iPhone X has been the best-selling iPhone of the year despite the high $999 price tag, the analysts now suggest the LCD model could end up being priced between $699 and $799 at its best case, with the larger OLED model potentially going above $999. Under new expectations, the ASPs could grow 2 percent year-on-year, or under the analysts' "bull case," 7 percent.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    I hear the new iPhones will be made of reconstituted corn syrup. They’ll dissolve over time, which will only accelerate their replacement. And they’re environmentally friendly! Problem solved!
    patchythepiratedesignr
  • Reply 2 of 13
    I get a new iPhone every year since the 3G...however this year it makes no sense as I can see barely any difference...going from 256 Gigs to 512 is not incentive enough for me....you will barely notice any processor improvements .....just from what I've read....I don't see any worth while improvements...I have zero use for larger screen as I don't use my phone for entertainment...I have the 2018 iPad for that.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    I’ll be getting a new one since my current X will go to the person in the family who finally wants to upgrade to FaceID from TouchID. 

    I have a feeling —no data at all, just a feeling — that there’ll be a fair number like me. 
    radarthekatwatto_cobra2old4fun
  • Reply 4 of 13
    I’m part of that 46%. I still have a 6s Plus and absolutely love it! So no plans here to upgrade, especially with all the talk about how much faster iOS 12 will make it run. I’m super excited about that! I said last year that I would upgrade this year but with that news, I think I’ll be holding onto it for another couple to few years. At these prices, I for one will be holding out on new ones longer. They’re as expensive as an iPad now and I could never imagine upgrading my iPad every year. I’ve never done that. The shortest I went was from the fourth gen to the Air 2. 
  • Reply 5 of 13
    FolioFolio Posts: 368member
    Still undecided whether to make my X an "ex." Ditto regarding Watch upgrade for myself. Definitely new one for a family member who can benefit from larger fonts on larger screen.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,326member
    I hear the new iPhones will be made of reconstituted corn syrup. They’ll dissolve over time, which will only accelerate their replacement. And they’re environmentally friendly! Problem solved!
    I want one made out of Hemp.
  • Reply 7 of 13
    FolioFolio Posts: 368member
    Longer replacement cycles have clear benefits that analysts sometime miss: better durability retains existing customers and brings in new ones. Spreading costs of phone over more years, allows Apple to increase iPhone prices, sell more Watches, AirPods, deluxe charging mats, etc. All this has a multiplying effect on Services.
    tmaywatto_cobracornchipbadmonk
  • Reply 8 of 13
    FolioFolio Posts: 368member
    k2kw said:
    I hear the new iPhones will be made of reconstituted corn syrup. They’ll dissolve over time, which will only accelerate their replacement. And they’re environmentally friendly! Problem solved!
    I want one made out of Hemp.
    You and Elon.  :)
    2old4funcornchip
  • Reply 9 of 13
    I get a new iPhone every year since the 3G...however this year it makes no sense as I can see barely any difference...going from 256 Gigs to 512 is not incentive enough for me....you will barely notice any processor improvements .....just from what I've read....I don't see any worth while improvements...I have zero use for larger screen as I don't use my phone for entertainment...I have the 2018 iPad for that.
    Amazing that you've read so much about what is for sure in the next iPhone and how it will compare, considering that none of us who read this site daily know that. 
    edited September 7 watto_cobracornchip
  • Reply 10 of 13
    Folio said:
    k2kw said:
    I hear the new iPhones will be made of reconstituted corn syrup. They’ll dissolve over time, which will only accelerate their replacement. And they’re environmentally friendly! Problem solved!
    I want one made out of Hemp.
    You and Elon.  :)
    Elon seems to be doing his level best to destroy investor confidence in him. Plus, I read that he could lose his security clearance as head of SpaceX for using what is currently an illegal substance at the Federal level.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    Folio said:
    k2kw said:
    I hear the new iPhones will be made of reconstituted corn syrup. They’ll dissolve over time, which will only accelerate their replacement. And they’re environmentally friendly! Problem solved!
    I want one made out of Hemp.
    You and Elon.  :)
    Elon seems to be doing his level best to destroy investor confidence in him. Plus, I read that he could lose his security clearance as head of SpaceX for using what is currently an illegal substance at the Federal level.
    Security clearance for/to what? Is Space X part of the US military complex?
    edited September 7 cornchip
  • Reply 12 of 13
    ivanhivanh Posts: 190member
    5G-ready iPhone is the next iPhone worth to wait and buy. Unlikely iPhone Xs or iPhone Xs Plus is ready.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,521member
    With the replacement cycle extending and the pricing of new models going higher, I wonder if so called upgrade supper cycle will ever happen ? Anxiously waiting for Sept 12th announcement of not iPhones but there pricing..
    cornchip
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