Ming Chi-Kuo says Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will sell fewer units than last year's models
Kuo cites Samsung's problems with its Galaxy Note 7, and the demand for the iPhone 7 Plus as reasons why he has raised his 2016 sales estimate for the new units to a figure between 70 and 75 million; his original forecast called for the sale of 65 million units. Even with the additional sales, this falls short of the number of Apple iPhone 6s and Apple iPhone 6s Plus models sold in 2015. The analyst also says that reports of carrier sellouts and strong demand could partially be the result of carrier promotions for the phones. In the U.S., each of the top four major wireless operators has an offer involving a free 32GB iPhone 7.
The analyst also says that Apple has only been able to score a manufacturing yield of 60% to 70% on the Jet Black version of the new phones. This naturally has led to a shortage of the Jet Black models. Apple has reportedly told suppliers that it wants to build 100 million iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus handsets in 2016. That is more than the 80 million to 85 million units that the suppliers were expecting Apple to order for 2016.
Last week, German researchers GfK investigated the sales channels for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and came to the conclusion that launch weekend sales were 25% lower year-over-year. Still, there are some analysts that are bullish on the new iPhone models. South Korea's Hi Investment & Securities' Song Eun-jeong says that the iPhone could take over the top spot among premium smartphones because of the promotions offered by the carriers.
Conflicting stories about the breadth of demand for newly launched iPhone models is nothing new. We will have to wait until next month when Apple releases its next earnings report to get some idea of how the new units are faring. Perhaps more important will be the results of the quarter that ends in December. The results of that three month period, which includes the holiday sales period, will be released late in January, 2017.