With as much growth and popularity that Apple's
As Apple's most important business segment and biggest cash cow -- 43.4% of revenue last year -- all eyes are on where iPhone fever will spread next. Recent analysis from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty shows there's still plenty of money on the table.
As the company has expanded its carrier partnerships beyond AT&T's
Asia is the next frontier for the iPhone.
China represents an enormous opportunity once China Mobile
Beyond just China, Huberty indicates that 78% of Asian carriers have yet to offer the iPhone, representing 67% of the geography's subscriber base. Those between ages 25 and 34 see the highest smartphone penetration, and Asia has 655 million people in that category, or 10% of the world's population.
On the flipside, she also notes that a large proportion, around 69%, of mobile subscribers in emerging markets tend to be prepaid. This proves to be a challenge, as the vast majority of iPhone buyers rely on carrier subsidies and service contracts to cover the majority of the iPhone's hefty retail price tag, which now starts at $649 for an entry-level model in the United States.
Huberty brings up the possibility of a lower-priced model to address the lower end of the spectrum, saying that a $300 phone would more than double demand.
The 2-year-old iPhone 3GS is now already practically free on contract, and it could easily be the lower-priced solution for emerging markets that Huberty is asking for. Penetration for 3G in those areas is incredibly low, and as Apple starts to tap into the vast Asian market, the picture of a new era of growth starts to become clear.
Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple and AT&T, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of China Mobile and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of China Mobile and Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.