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Ming-chi Kuo can’t pick a price for the iPhone 9

By Jules Wang August 27, 2018, 6:14 pm
2018 iPhones

In a new research note, well-known TF International analyst Ming-chi Kuo gave another shot at predicting how Apple will take on September with its three new iPhones.

The vague scheduling he gives in the missive, picked up by MacRumors, aligns with an earlier Bloomberg story: general launch activities will occur on the week of September 9, though actual sales are expected to come later.

5.8-inch and 6.5-inch models with OLED displays will launch ahead of a 6.1-inch LCD model “due to its production schedule.” Supply chain sources have suggested that manufacturing problems for that most affordable variant have pushed that release timeframe to October or even November.


Kuo also lays out a very specific spec sheet for the three new models:

  • All will share the A12 processor, the TrueDepth camera system for Face ID and Animoji as well as storage options of 64GB and 256GB.
  • The OLED models, built with stainless steel, will get 512GB options as well as 4GB of RAM, dual 12-megapixel cameras and 4×4 cellular MIMO support for increased data throughput.
  • The LCD model, based in aluminium, will have a single 12-megapixel camera, 3GB of RAM and a modem with only 2×2 MIMO capability.
  • The OLED models will receive two-cell batteries with typical capacity of about 2,750mAh for the 5.8-inch model and about 3,350mAh for the 6.5-inch model. The LCD model will have a single-cell 2,650mAh battery, roughly speaking.
  • The more expensive OLED models will have three colors while the LCD model will have five.
  • Against previous rumors, Apple Pencil support will not come with the new iPhones as it does not provide a “good user experience.”
  • The 6.1-inch and 6.5-inch models will have dual-SIM variants, though it’s not clear if they’ll be widely available.

Kuo gives out odd pricing ranges for each: the LCD model may start between $600 and $699 — over the course of several months, we’ve seen prognostications ranging between $550 and $800. The 5.8-inch OLED model may start between $800 and $899 and the 6.5-incher could run from $900 to $999.

The analyst remains positive that the LCD model will drive upgrade cycles for many iPhone loyalists and snap up to 70 percent of new model sales or up to 55 percent of all iPhone sales in the holiday quarter. The balance of the share will lean on the 6.5-inch OLED model, then the 5.8-inch model. At minimum, Apple will make a 55 percent margin per device sale and as much as 66 percent.

It’s odd to be seeing all of these general “ranges”


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