- The iPhone 12 release should help Apple weather the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, according to one analyst.
- Though Tim Cook recently said that Apple’s supply chain in Asia is back up and running, the coronavirus might see Apple push back the iPhone 12 release to October.
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Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Apple a few weeks ago posted surprisingly strong earnings for the March quarter. When the dust settled, Apple posted $58.3 billion in revenue and earnings of $2.55 per share. Investors were encouraged by the results and shares of Apple have been rising steadily ever since.
Looking ahead, Apple’s financial future in the near-term remains a bit uncertain. This was underscored by Apple’s reluctance to provide investors with guidance for the current June quarter. To be fair, Apple’s decision makes sense as there are simply too many unknown variables for the company to account for. For instance, there’s no telling if a new wave of coronavirus cases will sweep the country, prompting Apple to keep its stores closed for even longer. And even if all of Apple’s retail stores open up sooner rather than later, the economic impact of the coronavirus may see a huge drop-off in demand for Apple products.
Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, however, believes that the forthcoming iPhone 12 release will provide Apple with a much-needed boost and that the “eye of the storm is in the rear view mirror for Apple from both a demand and supply chain perspective.”
To the latter point, Apple during its recent earnings conference call said that its supply chain is essentially operating at full capacity.
“On the supply side,” Apple CEO Tim Cook explained, “we suffered from some temporary supply shortages during February, but we’ve been extremely pleased with the resilience and adaptability of our global supply chain, as well as its ability to get people back to work safely when circumstances allow.
“Our operations team and manufacturing partners put forth an extraordinary effort to restore production quickly,” Cook added, “and we exited the quarter in a good supply position for most of our product lines.”
That said, the demand side of the equation remains up in the air. Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup looks compelling and the inclusion of 5G support will undoubtedly attract buyers. Still, it remains to be seen the extent to which the downtrodden economy impacts iPhone sales come October and November.
Ives, though, is optimistic that Apple is already on the road to a strong recovery:
iPhone 12 should start the road to recovery for Cupertino. We conservatively assume only the installed base consumers currently in the window of an upgrade opportunity that have not upgraded their iPhones in more than 42 months purchase a new phone over the next 18 to 24 months. Currently we estimate that ~350 million of Apple’s 925 million iPhones worldwide are in this upgrade window, as we model going forward in a more draconian scenario that minimal new smartphone activity takes place in the coming quarters.
Incidentally, Ives anticipates that shares of Apple — which are currently trading in the $318 range — may reach as high as $350 in the coming months.
As for the iPhone 12 itself, the device looks to be the most compelling new iPhone we’ve seen in quite some time. Aside from improved camera performance and a 120Hz ProMotion Display, Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup will include a smaller notch, improved Face ID performance, faster internals, and last but not least, support for 5G. There are also rumors that the pricing for the iPhone 12 will be slightly cheaper than it was for the iPhone 11. If this turns out to be the case, the iPhone 12 will offer users more bang for the buck than any other iPhone we’ve seen since carriers starting eliminating subsidies.