KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors in his most recent research note that Apple will not refresh the iPhone SE in the first half of 2017. The company will also continue to exert pressure on suppliers to cut prices, in an effort to maintain its high profit margins.
Kuo also forecast Apple’s total iPhone shipments will decline in the first half of 2017, due to slowing demand in China, as well as the lack of a refresh for the iPhone SE. Kuo believes higher shipment volume in the first half of 2016 was due to demands for the SE.
Kuo says Apple’s pressure on suppliers to cut prices should begin to bear fruit this month or in December, with component suppliers reducing prices on the components Apple uses to build their iPhone lineup.
However, Kuo notes that not all suppliers will cut prices. Most iPhone component makers, like those that make the device’s panels, have weak bargaining positions with Apple due to fierce competition amongst suppliers. Some suppliers, like Samsung, are the main supplier of certain components for iPhones and have stronger bargaining positions than Apple. Kuo believes Samsung may even raise its prices. And finally, Kuo says there are a few suppliers like TSMC that are unlikely to be affected by Apple’s attempt to maintain its margins.
Kuo sees overall iPhone shipment volume dropping year-over-year in the second quarter of 2017, coming in somewhere between 35 to 40 million. Last year, Apple shipped 40.4 million in Q2 2016.