Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, with TF Securities, distributed a research note to clients and to certain members of the media detailing his expectations for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) upcoming product launches for later this fall.
Kuo, who recently moved to TF Securities from KGI Securities, has a long track record of accurately publishing information about upcoming Apple products. He is probably the best source of information for upcoming Apple products that consumers and investors alike have access to.
Although I don't have a copy of Kuo's note, MacRumors disseminated the key product information. Let's take a look at what Kuo says is coming soon from Apple.
Kuo says that three new iPhones are on the way. There will be two iPhones with advanced OLED (organic light emitting diode) displays, and a lower-cost model with a cheaper LCD (liquid crystal display).
These three iPhones are said to come equipped with Apple's A12 processor, but the two OLED models will reportedly have dual-lens cameras while the LCD model will have just a single-lens camera.
It's clear that with Apple's upcoming iPhones, it's trying to refine its product segmentation strategy. The baseline iPhone in this case should be a solid device with best-in-class internals and a modern design. But for users willing to pay for advanced cameras, better displays, and possibly a more expensive construction, either of the two OLED iPhones will do the trick.
During the current fiscal year (that's fiscal year 2018), Apple has done a stellar job of boosting iPhone average selling prices, but it has struggled to grow iPhone unit shipments. Perhaps Apple's upcoming lineup, with what appears to be a smart segmentation strategy, could allow the company to deliver meaningful iPhone unit shipment growth while also keeping average selling prices robust.
According to Kuo, Apple's prepping two new iPad Pro tablets for later this year -- one with an 11-inch display and one with a 12.9-inch display. These devices, Kuo reports, will incorporate the company's Face ID facial recognition technology to allow for the removal of the home button, a "full-screen" design (i.e. much smaller bezels), and, presumably, upgraded internals.
Apple's iPad business has stabilized in recent quarters after many quarters of declines, with the company reporting iPad revenue growth of 6% on 2% unit shipment growth last quarter.
Apple already launched a new low-cost iPad targeting both mass-market consumers and education customers earlier this year, but the company has yet to refresh its higher-end products. Fortunately, it looks like Apple has fairly substantial updates to its iPad Pro lineup coming shortly, which could help keep the iPad business stable during the coming fiscal year.
Kuo also indicates that Apple has a ton of stuff coming for its Mac product line. He says that Apple's going to update the MacBook, the MacBook Pro, and the iMac product lines with new processors. The iMac is also expected to get a better screen, according to Kuo.
Making computers faster is always a good thing.
Perhaps more interesting, though, is that Kuo says that Apple's prepping two additional surprises. The first is a new "low-priced notebook." Apparently this new notebook won't be sold under the company's MacBook Air branding, but could be an entirely new brand.
On top of that, he also reports that Apple's going to update the Mac mini -- a product that, as MacRumors observes, "has not been updated for more than 1,300 days."
It's not clear how popular a refreshed Mac mini would ultimately be, but this is clearly a market that Apple hasn't served well in recent years, and it looks like the company is finally set to rectify that.
All told, while the personal computer industry still isn't really a growth market, Apple's new products seem set to make its offerings more vibrant, potentially opening the door to segment share gains within a roughly flat market.
Beyond the company's core iPhone, Mac, and iPad products, Kuo also said that Apple's planning to launch new versions of its hugely popular AirPods wireless earbuds, and to debut its AirPower wireless charging mat.
The AirPower wireless charging accessory is unique in its ability to charge multiple Apple devices at one time. Those devices can also be placed at arbitrary positions on the mat, making it more capable than current wireless charging accessories.
I suspect that it'll sell well, and since Apple currently doesn't have any wireless charging accessories in the market, the revenue from this product is all upside for the company.
Finally, Apple is said to be planning new Apple Watches. They'll apparently have bigger screens than their predecessors and also include "enhanced heart rate detection features."
The Apple Watch product category has been a smash hit for the company, generating billions in annual revenue and growing rapidly. Apple's new products should help make the devices even more appealing, potentially driving more people to buy Apple Watches for the first time, while also compelling current Watch owners to upgrade to new models.