Buzz surrounding the upcoming new iPhone 12 lineup is really starting to pick up now, which should be fairly troubling to Apple’s rivals since the iPhone 12 series isn’t even set to be announced for another 6 months. In fact, the iPhone 12 isn’t even the first iPhone Apple will release in 2020. According to multiple independent reports from sources that have proven to be reliable in the past, Apple’s first new iPhone of the year will be unveiled toward the end of March. It won’t be a flagship phone, but rather a followup to the popular iPhone SE that Apple released back in 2016. The phone has been referred to as iPhone SE 2, iPhone 9, and one rumor even said it will just be called “iPhone.” Whatever Apple decides to name it, all that matters is that it’ll be a powerful device with specs similar to the iPhone 11, but it’ll have the same design as the iPhone 8 and will start at just $399.
Where the iPhone 12 series is concerned, it’s expected to be a huge upgrade. Word from top Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo is that the new iPhone 12 lineup will feature a major design overhaul with flat metal edges like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 design everyone loved so much. What’s more, Apple will apparently release four different iPhone 12 models this year, which would mark the first time ever that Apple has released four different versions of an iPhone. Kuo says there will be two different versions of the iPhone 12 as well as two versions of the iPhone 12 Pro, a standard model with a 6.1-inch screen and an iPhone 12 Pro Max with a 6.7-inch display. All those leaks and more have Apple fans very excited about the upcoming iPhone 12 series, but one industry watcher thinks there are two other reasons in particular that Apple’s iPhone 12 series is going to crush the competition this year.
Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives sent a note to clients on Tuesday that was also received by BGR. In the report, Ives points to two related factors that will drive massive iPhone 12 sales following the next-gen smartphone lineup’s release.
First, Ives notes that “all eyes of the Street are naturally focused on the trajectory of the supply chain recovery in China with the hearts and lungs of its iPhone franchise heavily tied to Foxconn production in the core factory.” The coronavirus outbreak in China has yet to be contained or even slowed, and it is wreaking havoc on people’s lives in the region. Needless to say, several factories where consumer electronics are manufactured have been closed in an effort to slow the spread of the deadly virus.
“In our base-case scenario the supply chain is able to get towards full capacity by late April/early May (anything earlier we would consider a BEST-case scenario),” the analyst wrote. “Under this scenario the flagship 5G iPhone product launches for the Fall delays by a few weeks at most and demand across China rebounds into the June/September quarters with some contained demand destruction in China.”
We’ve heard whispers that at this point in time, Apple executives are still confident that the iPhone 12 series will be released on schedule in mid-September. Supply may be limited at launch in this scenario, but there have also been reports that Apple is looking to begin production earlier than usual in an effort to build as many iPhone 12 units as possible ahead of the September release.
Ives continued, “To this point, taking a step back while the last few weeks have been an exogenous ‘shock event’ to Apple’s ecosystem on both the supply and demand side due to its China exposure, we believe this will be short-lived as the longer-term 5G supercycle thesis and services re-rating remain the crux of our bull thesis on Apple for the next 12 to 18 months.”
The analyst believes there is a “perfect storm of demand” right now among current iPhone owners who are still using old models. Ives estimates that 350 million iPhone users around the world are due for an upgrade, and this potentially massive surge of demand is the first reason iPhone 12 sales will soar following the release of the new flagship smartphone series. The second main reason, according to Ives, is 5G.
“While the supply chain issues and China demand shift are near-term fundamental headwinds, our primary focus is that the first part of this massive upgrade opportunity on the horizon with 5G leading the way should still be in the 215 million to 220 million unit range looking out to FY21,” Ives wrote. “At the end of the day, while the supply chain and demand will move around over the coming quarters, we believe Apple based on shifting timing could potentially ship north of 231 million iPhones in FY21 in an upside scenario, which will break its previous record set in FY15.”
Apple’s iPhone models always crush the competition, and no other single smartphone line has ever come anywhere close to matching iPhone sales. But if Apple can somehow manage to battle through inevitable supply limitations brought about by coronavirus and still sell a record number of iPhone 12 models in the fiscal year that follows their release, that would truly be a staggering accomplishment.