In a new research note outlining his predictions for Apple’s recently completed financial quarter and beyond, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo shares his thinking about some of Apple’s upcoming product plans that will provide sales momentum in the latter portion of the year.
–Apple Watch: Kuo remains conservative about the Apple Watch, pegging Apple’s second quarter shipments at roughly 3.9 million and growing to 5.5 million in the current quarter as supply shortages ease and availability expands to more countries. As a result, he believes it will be difficult for Apple to reach Wall Street consensus estimates for 15 million units total through the end of the year, though analyst estimates have seen wide variations and Apple is indicated it will not be reporting Apple Watch unit sales in its financial results.
Notably, Kuo believes Apple could launch the Apple Watch Sport in new color options to match iPhone 6s colors later this year, anodizing the watch’s aluminum casing with yellow and rose gold. Kuo and other sources have previously pointed to a new iPhone color (reportedly rose gold) and Kuo indicated months ago that Apple could use new casing options for the Apple Watch later this year.
– iPhone: Kuo believes Apple shipped roughly 54.2 million iPhones during the second calendar quarter, and he predicts that number will fall to 40.1 million in the current quarter as sales slow ahead of the “iPhone 6s” launch and shipments of the new device may get off to a somewhat slow start due to “low yield of Force Touch.”
– iPad: Apple’s iPad sales continue to slide, with Kuo predicting the company shipped just 8.8 million in the current quarter. He believes a thinner and lighter iPad mini that is essentially a smaller version of the iPad Air 2 could begin shipping at the tail end of the quarter, helping boost overall shipments to 11 million units during the third calendar quarter. Apple’s iPad launches typically come in October, however, so shipments may not begin until the fourth quarter. In line with a recent report claiming Apple may not introduce a new iPad Air this year, Kuo does not mention any pending updates to that device. He also does not address the even larger “iPad Pro” that has been rumored to launch later this year.
– Mac: Kuo predicts strong Mac shipments of 5.3 million units for the second quarter, rising to over 5.8 million in the current quarter, which is traditionally Apple’s best quarter on the strength of back to school sales. He sees Apple releasing new iMacs late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter, helping to sustain Mac demand.
Kuo has a solid track record based on information from Apple’s supply chain, but he does occasionally make incorrect predictions. As a result, some caution should be taken with these predictions.