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Apple iPhone 6 Launch Will Be Its Biggest Ever

Jul 22 2014, 1:10am CDT | by , in News | Apple

Apple iPhone 6 Launch Will Be Its Biggest Ever
 
 

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Apple iPhone 6 Launch Will Be Its Biggest Ever

The worst kept secret in the technology industry right now is that the next iPhones will be delivered with bigger screens this September, coming in 4.7 and 5.5-inch sizes. But if reports out of the Far East are to be believed, the new iPhone won’t just be bigger it will be huge — for Apple that is. How so? The  Wall Street Journal  reports Apple is asking its suppliers to build 70-80 million new iPhones by year end. That represents an increase of up to 60% from last year’s orders for the iPhone 5s and 5c, which totaled 50-60 million.

Because of the ranges in the estimates, it’s also possible that Apple will only be getting about 15% more iPhones than last year at this time. But that seems unlikely. The company was caught a bit flat-footed in 2013 when demand for the higher-end 5s outstripped expectations while the lower-end 5c came in a bit shy of what Apple had hoped for.

This time, the company seems likely to find takers for both sizes, with the smaller model dominating sales. Further, it will finally allow Apple to match the offerings of competitors, whose larger-screen models have been one of the few reasons iPhone loyalists have considered making the switch to Android in recent years.

Consider that in the quarter which ended in June, Apple moved around 36 million iPhones, based on a consensus of analyst estimates. (We’ll know exactly how many tomorrow, when the company reports earnings. Check back here for much more.) That’s up about 15% from a year ago. In the holiday quarter, which is historically Apple’s best by far, though, 2013′s numbers were only up about 7% from 2012 (51 million vs. 47.8 million).

Even if Apple only sees gains on the order of 15% this year, that would still mean 59 million iPhones in the holiday quarter. (Keep in mind that because iPhone launches occur in late September, the exist models will be the source of most sales between now and the end of September, so we’re looking ahead here.) If the larger-screen offerings push demand up closer to 25%, however, it’s not impossible to imagine Apple selling near 65 million iPhones in just the final three months of the year. For a sense of just how many smartphones that is, in fiscal 2011 Apple shipped 72 million iPhones in the entire year.

All of this is good news for shareholders, who have seen the stock move up sharply lately, to within spitting distance of its all-time highs. Of course, a lot can happen between now and then. There are miscellaneous reports about challenges making the touchscreens for the larger models and questions about just how much sapphire Apple will or will not use to cover the new iPhones.

That said, it’s all but certain this will be the most successful iPhone launch in the history of the product. And given that it represents about half of Apple’s revenue, that can’t help but push the top and bottom lines northward as the year progresses. The rest of 2014 also promises Apple’s smartwatch offering and whatever else the company has in store. Apple has been in slow growth mode for a while now, but that period may be coming to a close.

 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
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