Before Apple released the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus earlier this month, few analysts expected the new phones to do well. They argued that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus lacked a new design and radical improvements, which would hurt its sales. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously estimated that Apple would sell 65 million units of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus through the end of 2016.
Galaxy Note 7 recall helping iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
In his latest research note to investors (via Apple Insider), Kuo raised his estimate from 65 million to 70-75 million units. Though it’s higher than Kuo’s previous estimate, it falls short of shipments of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus in 2015. Kuo partially attributed the growth in iPhone 7 and 7 Plus to the dual-camera setup and massive recall of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Note 7 due to battery explosions.
The reports of strong consumer demand and carrier sellouts could partially be the result of carrier promotions for the new iPhones. Every major carrier in the United States has an offer involving a free 32GB iPhone 7. The analyst added that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were launched in more countries in the initial phase compared to the iPhone 6S. It led to rapid depletion of inventories worldwide.
Why is there a shortage of Jet Black version?
KGI Securities analyst also pointed out that Apple has been able to achieve only 60% to 70% manufacturing yield for the Jet Black color of new iPhones. It led to the shortage of Jet Black model. Last week, German market research institute GfK tracked sales channels for the latest iPhones and concluded that iPhone 7 and 7 Plus launch weekend sales were 25% lower than that of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.
While Ming-Chi Kuo derided carrier promotions, many Asian analysts argued last week that Apple could become the top vendor in premium smartphone market on the back of carrier promotions. IBK Investment & Securities analyst Lee Seung-woo said last week that South Korean suppliers had received component orders for 80-85 million iPhone 7 units before launch. The orders were recently increased by 17% to 25%, taking the total volume to more than 100 million units by the end of this year.