KGI report claims both iPhone 6 models to offer 128GB storage; iPad Air 2 launch on same day

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KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, in a report this morning, states that both 4.7- and 5.5-inch models of the iPhone 6 will be launched next week and will both offer 128GB storage option. If Apple retains its usual three-tier structure this would suggest 32GB, 64GB and 128GB models – though it could be that 128GB would be a fourth tier, as with its iPad Air models. Or, as a previous report suggested, Apple could keep the 16GB option as a very low price tier and skip 32GB.

The same report predicts that the iPad Air 2 will be announced on the same day as the iPhone 6 rather than in a separate event in October. In this scenario, Apple would forgo any physical updates to the iPad mini line (perhaps price drops?). If true, this suggests that it could be a relatively minor refresh, perhaps simply with Touch ID added and a marginally thinner casing along with the RAM bumped up to 2GB for things like split window multitasking …  Read more

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple’s sapphire-covered ‘iWatch’ to enter mass production in November

One of many iWatch concepts.

Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has provided relatively accurate information on future Apple product plans in the past (but frequent misses on timing), has issued a new report today indicating that the Apple smart watch will enter mass-production in November. Kuo’s previous estimate on production for the “iWatch” indicated that the device would enter mass-production rounds in September. “We have pushed back our estimated time of iWatch mass production from late-September to mid-/ late- November. We also lower our forecast of iWatch 2014 shipments by 40% to 3mn units,” Kuo wrote in today’s report. The analyst claims the push back is due to more complex hardware and software engineering in this first generation Apple product category.

Kuo also provides some tidbits as to what he is expecting the device to feature:

  • Flexible AMOLED display
  • Sapphire coated display cover
  • Higher waterproof standards
  • New system-on-a-chip components

Both a flexible AMOLED display and sapphire crystal display covers have been rumored in previous reports about the Apple smart watch, waterproofing technology makes sense in light of this being a fitness device that straps to a wrist, and we first reported in January that the iWatch will sport a new system on a chip to pack in numerous sensors that could track health data such as steps taken, calories burned, hydration, and sweat. The device, which will also include advanced mapping functionality per multiple sources, will integrate deeply with the iOS 8 operating system and its HealthKit software. We expect the device to be announced at a keynote address in October and launch by the 2014 holiday season.

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Retina iPad mini could be the new gold iPhone 5s, with ‘ridiculously tight’ supplies

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A second analyst has warned that supplies of the Retina iPad mini are likely to be “ridiculously tight”, after KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously predicted they would be “highly constrained.” The comment comes from Rhoda Alexander, director of tablet research at IHS electronis and media, quoted in the Telegraph.

Apple could face supply issues for the iPad mini 2 with Retina, as its supply is one third the size of its shipments from this time last year, an analyst said.

Rhoda Alexander, director of tablet research at IHS electronis and media, said: “The supply of the Retina Mini is going to be ridiculously tight in the fourth quarter …  Read more

Opening weekend iPhone sales estimated at 6-8 million units, reiterates 5s supply constraints

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KGI analyst Mingchi Kuo has released his estimates for iPhone sales over the launch weekend. The forecast is set at between 6 – 8 million units, accounting  for both the 5c and the 5s. Apple opted not to report preorder sales figures for the 5c, leading some to speculate that demand for the device is weak. Kuo’s guidance does not seem to reflect this as an issue, however.

In 2012, the iPhone 5 shipped 5 million units across its launch weekend. If Apple hit the upper limit of Kuo’s forecast, 8 million units, that would result in sales growth of about 60%.

However, Kuo warns that supply is likely going to be a limiting factor in the near term. Kuo expects the available supply to skew heavily in the 5c’s favour, with only about a third of total supply in the launch period being 5s units. For the holiday quarter, Kuo says supply constraints will loosen to enable Apple to report record shipments of 55 million iPhones in fiscal Q4.

Analyst predicts iPhone 5S with Gold option, larger F2.0 aperture camera and 128GB high-end

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In a new report out today, KGI’s Mingchi Kuo updated his previous predictions for the iPhone 5S due for announcement on September 10th. Notably, he expects:

(1) the new A7, ARMv8 based AP (application processor), featuring a 1GB LPDDR3 RAM chip; (2) a sapphire home button with fingerprint  sensor; (3) main camera unchanged with 8MP, but featuring a larger F2.0 aperture with dual flash lights; (4) new option for golden casing; and (5) new option for 128GB storage.

We’ve heard the Sapphire fingerprint reading home button previously from Kuo and the A7 is the natural successor to the A6 and will likely be a 64-bit processor. The 1GB RAM seems in line with previous predictions but that 1GB of RAM will be faster according to Kuo:

We reckon A7 will upgrade memory bandwidth spec to LPDDR3 from LPDDR2 adapted by A6, in an effort to improve system performance. Since Apple is in charge of both hardware  and OS design, it is capable of minimalizing memory capacity at an optimized state. Therefore, A7’s RAM will likely be unchanged at 1GB.

However, the Gold option is something that has been only heard of in more sketchy rumors until now. Additionally, we discussed the 128GB option in our roundtable quite a bit yesterday. The iPad got a 128GB option this spring and the option on the iPhone would be a big differentiator for power users.

We’ve also heard the upgrade on the camera would include an F2.0 aperture with dual flashes but have heard a variety of megapixel options including 12 and 13. As with previous ‘S’ models, this one would be able to take dramatically better pictures, especially in low light situations.

Kuo doesn’t believe that there will be NFC capabilities in the iPhone 5S.

All told, Kuo expects Apple to sell 35M iPhone 5S units in 2013 (not including previous models and the lower cost iPhone 5C) as long as sapphire fingerprint reader manufacturers can keep up with demand.

Kuo’s record on parts predictions is good (timing notwithstanding) and these predictions should be taken seriously.

Mockups via MartinHajek.com, more here. Read more