Later this year, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to launch a trio of smartphones that could, in aggregate, help drive Apple's iPhone results past the peak that it enjoyed during the iPhone 6 "super cycle."
The lineup is expected to consist of three iPhone models: a standard model with a 4.7-inch liquid crystal display (LCD), a higher-end model with a 5.5-inch LCD, and a premium model with a 5.8-inch organic light emitting diode (OLED)-based display.
There's been a lot of chatter around just when Apple will launch these devices into the marketplace. Before the company's most recent earnings report, it was widely believed that Apple's new phones would be delayed a bit from when new iPhone models would traditionally launch. However, after Apple issued robust guidance for the coming quarter, it's now widely believed that Apple will launch some goodies this fall.
Though Apple's financial guidance tells us a lot, it doesn't tell us everything about the precise timing of the new iPhone ramp-up, as well as information about the quantities of the new phones Apple hopes to ship during the upcoming product cycle.
A recent report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, by way of MacRumors, doesn't tell us everything, either, but it provides us with quite a lot to chew on. Let's take a closer look at the details.
It all launches next month -- with a catch!
According to MacRumors, which got hold of the KGI Securities report, Kuo expects Apple to announce "all three iPhone models simultaneously in September, with plans to launch them all on the same date."
Apple has, in recent history, announced new iPhone models at a special event and then began taking orders for the new phones in subsequent weeks. However, and not particularly surprising -- given that it should be quite difficult to manufacture -- Kuo reportedly says Apple won't ship the premium OLED iPhone in very large numbers during the third quarter of the year.
"The OLED version will be in short supply, as we forecast shipments in 3Q17 will be 2-4mn units or less," the analyst wrote.
The supply to-demand balance isn't expected to get much better anytime soon, either, according to Kuo: "We do not think production of the OLED iPhone will pick up substantially before 4Q17; and given strong demand, tight supply may persist until 1Q18 before improving much."
Not a terrible problem to have
It's much better for Apple to have the problem of demand outweighing supply for a prolonged period than to be able to easily meet demand for a product because the demand levels are relatively low. At this point, all signs seem to suggest that Apple's upcoming iPhone cycle will be a robust one, characterized by both high demand for its products and increased average selling prices, especially given that the OLED iPhone is expected to sell for a premium to the typical iPhone price points.
That's a recipe for a successful fiscal year, and one that investors in Apple should be quite excited about.