Well-connected Apple industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities has shared a new investor note today, providing new details about the development of Apple’s iPhone 12 models, as well as information about the reception of the new iPhone SE and what’s going on with an iPhone SE Plus model Apple was expected to release.
Kuo believes the first weekend of iPhone SE pre-orders likely exceeded expectations, but that the market didn’t expect much from the new model going into the pre-release weekend. The analyst expects shipments of 12-14 million units for the iPhone SE during Q2 2020, followed by 10 million units in Q3 2020.
Kuo says the better than expected iPhone SE pre-orders could be a bad sign for Apple as the pre-orders could reflect a consumption downgrade. Consumers facing uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic could be opting for the lower-priced iPhone, indicating the iPhone 11 and upcoming iPhone 12 lineups could see sales suffer.
Taking that into account, TF International Securities is cutting its Q2 2020 iPhone shipment estimation by 30 percent due to “negative impacts from COVID-19.”
iPhone SE Plus
Kuo says a larger-screened version of the iPhone SE has likely been delayed until the second half of 2021. He had originally predicted this model would launch during the first half of 2021 but now believes Apple’s timeline has changed.
So, if you are biding time until you see a 5.5-inch version of the new iPhone SE, you could be waiting until at least the second half of 2021.
Kuo says Apple started the online qualification process for the upcoming iPhone 12 models remotely, delegating more tasks “to local employees,” leading to a one-month delay in engineering verification testing for the new iPhone 12 models.
It is widely expected that the iPhone 12 lineup will include four new models. Kuo predicts a staggered mass production schedule for the devices this fall. With the rumored 6.1-inch and 5.4-inch iPhone 12 models entering mass production in September and the 6.7-inch iPhone entering mass production in October. Kuo says the 6.7-inch model has “the most complicated” design.
While Apple may unveil all four of the iPhone 12 models at once, the release dates will be staggered. Apple has done this in the past, with the releases of the iPhone X and iPhone XR.
Kuo also notes the mmWave iPhone 12 models could be delayed further due to recent changes to the antenna design.
The mmWave iPhone will be pushed back because the design of the antenna in package (AiP) changes in early April. Additionally, the test lab is closed and can’t offer qualification process services. If the pandemic can’t be controlled well until July, then we think that the shipment allocation of mmWave iPhones will decrease to 5–10% from 15–20%.
Since all of the iPhone 12 models are expected to support 5G connectivity, supporting both mmWave and sub-6GHz bands, what the delay means is a bit unclear.