Kuo says only one new iPhone 15 model isn't matching the demand seen last year

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Kuo says only one new iPhone 15 model isn't matching the demand seen last year
When TF International's well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo speaks, everyone listens. Kuo just published his thoughts about the pre-order period for the iPhone 15 series which started last Friday. The first thing on his mind is that demand for the iPhone 15 Pro Max is bonkers. Ok, he didn't say it exactly like that, but he said demand for the top-of-the-line iPhone 15 model is robust and it tops the demand seen last year for the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

As for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, demand for these two models is the same as seen last year with the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. Kuo did note that demand for the iPhone 15 Pro is down compared to last year's pre-orders for the iPhone 14 Pro during the same time. Kuo attributes this to stronger demand for the new Pro Max model this year. He also says that the wait times for the iPhone 15 Pro Max are longer than the wait times for other iPhone 15 models. But this is not solely due to demand he says.

While Kuo didn't say whether it is due to the periscope camera found only in the iPhone 15 Pro Max, he did say that the latter has run into some production challenges leading to the longer wait times. These production challenges on the iPhone 15 Pro Max "are more pronounced than other models." 

Kuo also stated that the iPhone 15 series pre-order results are similar to last year's pre-order results for the iPhone 14. However, because the Chinese banned the use of iPhone units in certain government offices, analysts had lowered the bar and had become more conservative about their expectations. The bottom line is that the iPhone 15 pre-order results have been better than analysts feared.

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Kuo points out that Chinese Communist Party members, employees of the government, and state-owned businesses aren’t the primary targets that Apple is aiming for when it comes to selling the iPhone in China.  Calling the iPhone ban an "isolated decision by specific government organizations or state-owned enterprises," Kuo says the impact of the ban on iPhone sales in China is limited.

Many have said that the launch of Huawei's Mate 60 Pro, with its own homegrown 5G Kirin chipset, would negatively impact pre-orders of the iPhone 15 series in China. Kuo disagrees stating that iPhone pre-orders in China are made by "core users or Apple fans," not the typical group that buys Huawei phones. However, Kuo also says that some e-commerce sites in China might exaggerate iPhone pre-orders because pre-orders don't require a deposit.

Kuo says that he is sticking with his forecast that Apple will ship 80 million iPhone 15 series phones this year. Since Apple's shares have tumbled since the ban was first announced on September 6, dropping 7.9% from a close near $190 on September 5 to last Friday's close of $175.01, perhaps this is Kuo's way of suggesting that be believes the stock will rebound.
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