Morgan Stanley: Apple's next iPhone to be slimmer, may include quad-mode LTE chip

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


Investment bank Morgan Stanley hinted on Friday that Apple's next-generation iPhone will be slimmer when it arrives later this year and could include a quad-mode chip from Qualcomm that would allow for 3G and LTE functionality across all "network flavors."



Apple will remain impervious to a broader decline in consumer demand throughout the technology industry through the release of its third-generation iPad in the first half of 2012 and the launch of a thinner iPhone later this year, analyst Katy Huberty wrote in a note to investors detailing takeaways from a recent trip to Asia.



Data points for Apple are "mostly positive," she said, as the company is expected to maintain unit shipments this quarter, compared to a 10 percent sequential decline from the December quarter in the broader market.



"Apple will also launch iPad 3 in H1 and a slimmer iPhone later this year," she wrote.



Huberty believes production for the next iPad will ramp up at the end of this quarter. She voiced expectations that Apple's next-generation tablet will have a higher resolution display.



As for Apple's next iPhone, Huberty said details on the device remained "sparse," but she believes the device will be ready at the end of the second quarter. The launch will depend on "manufacturing yields," she said, adding that she expects the next-gen iPhone to arrive in the third quarter "unless competition heats up."



According to her, new touch panel technology will enable Apple to make the device thinner. Huberty also claimed Apple is "considering" new casing materials.



The Cupertino, Calif., company also benefited in the December quarter from a decision to keep the iPad 2 on the market at a reduced price after the the third-generation iPad arrives, the analyst noted. Looking ahead to the March quarter, Apple's strength appears to be iPhone 4S driven, though signs also point to the iPad performing "better than seasonal" during the period.



Huberty said it appears that the next-generation iPhone will incorporate Qualcomm's quad-mode chip that would allow it to "run on all 3G and LTE network flavors," but she said it was "too early to know for sure." If Apple were to ink a deal with China Mobile, it would increase confidence that Apple would utilize the chip, she added.



"What is clear about iPhone 5 is that Apple and its supply chain are positively surprised by the demand for iPhone 4S, which increases confidence in strong sales for iPhone 5 later this year. Overall, the supply chain looks for stronger than market growth for both the iPhone (50%+ y/y vs. market 20-30%) and the iPad (20-40% growth, higher with a lower priced iPad 2)," she wrote.



Recent reports have hinted that Apple is in talks with carriers to release LTE-compatible iOS devices later this year. Apple is also said to be in negotiations with China Mobile and has reportedly given the world's largest carrier a "positive answer" on an future LTE iPhone compatible with its network.



Huberty's Asian sources suggested that Apple's strength will be the exception, rather than the rule, in the coming year. The tech supply chain is experiencing "worse than normal seasonality" during the first half of this year due to "macro pressures and back-end loaded product cycles," she said.



More specifically, the analyst cited weak sales in Europe, a seasonal demand drop in the U.S., limited technology/product cycles and "weakening commercial put pressure" in the first half of 2011, especially in the first quarter.



Though Apple's competitors in the PC industry expect the release of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system to give lift to PC sales, Huberty cautioned that "visibility into pricing, a key determinant of growth," of such devices remains low. The analyst also said she was surprised by the "lack of HDD supply concerns" and expects prices to normalize by the end of the second quarter.



PC makers will need to determine pricing for ultrabooks in particular, Huberty said, noting that the laptop category's bill-of-materials needs to fall in order to hit a selling price that will attract high volumes. Even so, "it remains unclear when or if these price cuts can ultimately stimulate Ultrabook demand," she added. Earlier this week, analysts at Gartner said consumers hesitated to adopt ultrabooks in the fourth quarter of 2011.



Companies Huberty spoke to said they expect the first Windows 8 products to arrive in the middle of the third quarter of 2012, with ARM-based devices taking "longer to ramp to volume" because of software compatibility issues and additional R&D efforts. PC demand is likely to see "at least a modest uptick" following the release of Windows 8.



"Reasons for optimism include: 1) Initial Win 8 engineering feedback is positive, 2) Windows has more corporate support than Android and Apple, and 3) Most vendors expect Microsoft to provide free apps or even products to stimulate demand if necessary," she said.



Within the mobile industry, Huberty sees non-iPhone smartphone demand as having tapered off in recent weeks. She warned that Qualcomm could provide "sub-seasonal" guidance for its Mobile Station Modem chips in the second quarter of fiscal 2012 as a result of the slowdown in demand.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Also, tomorrow the sky "may" be blue in colour. Anyways, Windows8 will probably keep the PC industry waddling along, while Windows 8 tablets don't seem to hold much promise IMHO. Windows Phone 7/8... not sure what's happening there.
  • Reply 2 of 44
    erioerio Posts: 25member
    Please post link of article if full of quotes. Thanks!
  • Reply 3 of 44
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    And Morgan Stanley got all their information from Apple Insider
  • Reply 4 of 44
    Funny. in the ancient times of computer industry, there were "IBM watchers", trying to decipher Big blue strategy, and to anticipate the next move. Seems they are recycled into Apple watchers ... Even though, as financial analysts, they do not seem to me very qualified for this ... But well, in this particular occasion, they do not take many risks, do they ?
  • Reply 5 of 44
    Quote:

    The Cupertino, Calif., also benefited in the December quarter from a decision to keep the iPad 2 on the market at a reduced price following the arrival of the third-generation iPad, the analyst noted. Looking ahead to the March quarter, Apple's strength appears to be iPhone 4S driven, though signs also point to the iPad performing "better than seasonal" during the period.



    iPad 2? iPad 3? Benefited? December quarter?



    Are we already in 2013?
  • Reply 6 of 44
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,513member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kriskkalu View Post


    iPad 2? iPad 3? Benefited? December quarter?



    Are we already in 2013?



    You're right that the article is really odd. Talking about the iPad 2 remaining at reduced prices in the past tense? Perhaps this one wasn't supposed to be published until April.
  • Reply 7 of 44
    sleepy3sleepy3 Posts: 244member
    makes you wonder how much slimmer phones can possibly get. at the present moment manufacturers are gloating about 0.5 mm advantage. it's getting to the point where the world's slimmest phone will be about 3 microns thinner than the next one. in other words, it's just marketing crap that the informed consumer should not care about.



    kinda like having a display with 600 ppi. what's the point? time to focus less on measuring contests that make no sense and focus on things that do. like screen technology. a super AMOLED plus high density display would be amazing. wish I could get a TVs made out of that stuff.

    or maybe a new kind of battery that can play a week of video before dying.



    that's the kind of stuff I would buy. not a phone that is 0.05mm slimmer.
  • Reply 8 of 44
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,716member
    Thinner and bigger don't necessarily mean better, unless your perspective is entirely unsophisticated. The IP4/S form factor is nearly perfect, and I think it could last another few generations. (It may not, but it could.) We all know the downsides of bigger -- i.e., the phone becomes a pain to carry around and use -- but, thinner, at least siginificantly thinner, which might sound like a good thing, isn't really either.



    Use as a camera has become a really big deal with smartphones, but, if they get significantly thinner, they'll become a pain to use as a camera. A significantly thinner IP4/S would start to become difficult to work with as a camera. The current form factor, with flat sides works very well in this regard.
  • Reply 9 of 44
    d-ranged-range Posts: 396member
    I'd love to have Kay Huberty's job. Get paid to browse the internet all day and rehash the same rumors you read everywhere, then make 'analyses' out of it. Beats having to figure out difficult programming problems and dealing with crazy managers and project planners all day.
  • Reply 10 of 44
    Elsewhere the report stated that water may well be wet.



    Verizons recent "all future smartphones must have LTE" announcement (http://www.intomobile.com/2012/01/12...o-feature-lte/) pretty much guarantees the LTE part of this report unless Apple have got themselves some so far unannounced exception to this ruling.
  • Reply 11 of 44
    I think Apple could stand to go just slightly bigger on the iPhone's screen size. Maybe 4" max. But I agree that I'm tired of this thinness war, it's stupid. However I like what Motorola did with the Razr Maxx. Build the thinnest phone possible then strapped twice the battery to it so it brings it back out to normal, in the process giving it twice the run time of almost anyone else.



    Maybe Apple will do something similar. Decide the ideal thickness based on ergonomics and then just cram it full of battery. I think the extra weight would be fine, at least until we get those Lithium Ion Graphene batteries into production.
  • Reply 12 of 44
    I wouldn't expect much thinner when we jump to quad core. The battery will be bigger, making the phone as thick as it is now.
  • Reply 13 of 44
    hosshoss Posts: 69member
    This true "world phone" will cause a price war neither of the carriers will survive. I predict that Apple & Google will be carrier shopping soon.
  • Reply 14 of 44
    nairbnairb Posts: 253member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Thinner and bigger don't necessarily mean better, unless your perspective is entirely unsophisticated. The IP4/S form factor is nearly perfect, and I think it could last another few generations. (It may not, but it could.) We all know the downsides of bigger -- i.e., the phone becomes a pain to carry around and use -- but, thinner, at least siginificantly thinner, which might sound like a good thing, isn't really either.



    When I hold something, I want to feel it. I see no benefit in going any thinner than the top phones are already.



    I think motorola made the right move by slightly increasing thickness of Razr Maxx giving significantly improved battery life (21 hrs talk time). Much more important than being 0.5 mm thinner than your competition IMO.



    iPhones already have a great battery but it could be even better if they do not get caught in a battle for the thinnest.
  • Reply 15 of 44
    dbtincdbtinc Posts: 134member
    Hit the nail on the proverbial head - give me a phone with the options I need/want and a frickin' battery that will last the day!
  • Reply 16 of 44
    Is Morgan Stanley sleeping with Al Gore? If their not, they should, because they would make a great pair.
  • Reply 17 of 44
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaveMcM76 View Post


    Verizons recent "all future smartphones must have LTE" announcement (http://www.intomobile.com/2012/01/12...o-feature-lte/) pretty much guarantees the LTE part of this report unless Apple have got themselves some so far unannounced exception to this ruling.



    "Ruling"? It's a company. They have absolutely no legal control over anything they say. Apple can do whatever the frick they want.
  • Reply 18 of 44
    Never understood the obsession with ultra thin. I hope phones don't continue to compete on that front as phones are plenty thin now
  • Reply 19 of 44
    Morgan Stanly?

    Tell me something I don't freakin know.

    Duh.
  • Reply 20 of 44
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post


    Never understood the obsession with ultra thin. I hope phones don't continue to compete on that front as phones are plenty thin now



    Whatever the next generation iPhone looks like, everyone will still love it unless Apple's designers make some unprecedented mistake or something.



    Personally, I could go for a little thinner. If the entire phone was only as thick as the antenna band, (around 1/3 thinner), I think that would still be plenty thick enough. It's likely to have the same weight anyway, making it feel good in the hand.



    If they made the screen the same size but edge to edge, it would also be about 1/4 inch smaller in height and width which wouldn't be a bad thing IMO.



    The only thing I really hope they don't do, which I would see as a terrible "mistake" is to make it look like a little iPad (as in 90% of all the iPhone 5 mockups), with the sharp edges, and being so thin that it would be hard to hold. That is an iPhone that I simply would not buy and I don't think I'm alone on that.



    I can't imagine what drives blogs to continually put out the idea that it will have an aluminium back and essentially look like a tiny iPad unless it's just pure laziness and a lack of photoshop skills.
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