We’re already hearing a lot of exciting news about the “iPhone 12”, and it looks like there could be so much excitement and demand for Apple’s first 5G iPhone that it’s affecting sales of at least some of Apple’s current iPhone 11 models.
It’s fairly obvious why Apple doesn’t disclose product roadmaps, since it obviously risks cannibalizing its own iPhone sales by encouraging customers to delay purchasing a new model until the next big thing arrives. This year, however, the pent-up demand for a 5G iPhone and the overly active rumour mill may be leaving the matter out of Apple’s own hands almost entirely.
According to a research note published by Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang (shared by 9to5Mac), Apple is actually in the process of scaling back on its iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max production, which could see a drop by as much as 60% by March. Zhang claims the drop is due to “waning interest in 4G smartphones” as most users look ahead to Apple’s 2020 iPhone which is almost certain to include 5G technology for the first time.
That said, not everyone agrees with Zhang’s conclusions. Katy Huberty, a well-respected analyst with Morgan Stanley, told Street Insider that after meeting recently with Apple’s CFO Luca Maestri and several supply chain partners, there’s every indication that demand for the iPhone 11 is strong across all models — including the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
It’s also worth mentioning that Rosenblatt Securities has a track record of being bearish on Apple stock, and is continuing to advise investors to sell, predicting that it will ultimately drop to a price of $150 per share. This would suggest that the firm believes Apple’s shares will drop almost 45% from the current price, which seems laughable considering how well Apple would appear to be doing. Even other analysts who have been pushing “sell” ratings have gone with considerably more conservative targets, and many are still bullish on Apple stock, suggesting that it has nowhere to go but up, and pushing “buy” ratings with targets of up to $290 per share.
Six New iPhone Models?
In the same research note, Rosenblatt is also predicting that Apple will release a total of six new iPhone 12 models next fall, predicting that the base model that would follow up on the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 would be the “iPhone 12 4G” with a 6.1-inch LCD panel and dual cameras. As the name implies, this would omit 5G technology, and Rosenblatt predicts that Apple would also sell “iPhone 12 Pro” and “iPhone 12 Pro Plus” models in both 4G and 5G variants, but only dual cameras on the “Pro” version. An ultra-premium “iPhone 12 Pro Max” would come in a 5G configuration only.
Rosenblatt’s predictions on the 2020 iPhone lineup appear to be coming out of left field, and seem exceedingly complicated for a company like Apple which prefers to keep things simple. It seems especially bizarre that Apple would return to a dual-camera system on its “iPhone Pro” and introduced a new “Pro Plus” model into the lineup, although the theory here seems to be that Apple may be looking to hit a new intermediate price point that basically puts a new model in between the current iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models. In this case, the successor to the iPhone 11 Pro would be the “iPhone 12 Pro Plus” and the new “iPhone 12 Pro” would be a new intermediate model. This is an idea that does have some merit, even though the predicted names make little sense.
By contrast, Ming-Chi Kuo, whose analyses are considerably more reliable, recently predicted that Apple would release five new iPhones next year, with the first — the spiritual successor to the iPhone SE which could be the iPhone 9 — coming out as early as the spring. This would be followed by 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch iPhone models that would presumably be the “iPhone 12 Pro” and “iPhone 12 Pro Max” and two 6.1-inch models, which would likely both be variations on the “iPhone 12.” Kuo and other analysts have already gone on the record as saying all of Apple’s main 2020 iPhones will have 5G support, but this probably doesn’t include the “iPhone 9,” nor does it preclude Apple releasing a non-5G model of the “iPhone 12.”
Several analysts have already suggested that Apple will dominate the 5G market next year, at least temporarily eclipsing Samsung, and that the company could break its records by selling over 100 million iPhones.