Tim Cook’s annual compensation was cut for the first time in 2016 as Apple missed its own revenue targets. But 2017 is gearing up to be an exciting year for both Apple and Tim Cook, whose compensation is partly linked to the company’s performance. Most analysts have been predicting an iPhone 8 “supercycle” this year. The Wall Street estimates Apple to sell 80 million iPhone units in the December quarter of 2017.
iPhone 8 to turn around Apple’s fortunes
Nomura analyst Jeffrey Kvaal said in a research note to investors that the iPhone 8 would shatter all the previous sales records, including the 2014 iPhone 6 supercycle. Apple had sold about 75 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2014. Kvaal estimates that the iPhone 8 would boost sales to a record 86 million units in Q4, 2017, turning around Apple’s fortunes after more than a year of declining sales.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were huge hits because they were the first smartphones from Apple with the bigger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. A large number of iPhone 6 owners did not upgrade to any of the “boring” iPhones. Nomura analysts believe that they are highly likely to upgrade to the iPhone 8 this fall.
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The iOS subscriber base is 45-50% bigger now
Also, Kvaal points out, the upcoming iPhone would be offered to a far bigger subscriber base than the iPhone 6. The current iOS subscriber base is 45% to 50% larger than it was in 2014, which means the iPhone 8 would attract more customers. Rumors indicate that Apple would release three smartphones this year. Two of them, the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, would be minor upgrades over the current iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
The third model, which Nomura calls the iPhone 8, is rumored to have a new all-glass design. The handset would have a curved OLED screen that will house the home functionality and fingerprint scanner. It means there will be no physical home button. Energous CEO Steve Rizzone indicated last week that the iPhone 8 could be the first smartphone to come with true wireless charging.
iPhone 8 to feature long-distance wireless charging
Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn has been testing wireless charging modules for the 2017 iPhone. Energous has agreements with both Apple and Foxconn. Most existing wireless technologies require the device to be placed on a charging pad. But Energous’ WattUp transmitter can charge a compatible device from a distance of up to 15 feet.
The launch of three models in 2017 should help Apple grab a bigger share of the global smartphone market. In 2016, analysts were expecting the iPhone 7 to get a sales boost following the Galaxy Note 7 disaster. But the relatively ‘boring’ iPhone failed to capitalize on the Note 7 debacle as most of the Note 7 users chose to stick to the Android ecosystem.