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3 Possible Winners from the Apple Inc. iPhone SE

By Ashraf Eassa – Mar 27, 2016 at 9:30AM

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Here are three companies that could benefit from the roll-out of the iPhone SE.

The iPhone SE in four colors. Image credit: Apple. 

Apple's (AAPL -0.34%) latest iPhone, the iPhone SE, won't make it into customers' hands until March 31, meaning that investors probably won't get to see tear-down reports of the device until sometime after that. However, based on what Apple has revealed about the device, I think that the investment community can make some educated guesses as to the companies that could benefit should the iPhone SE do well based on the specifications of the device.

Potential Winner: InvenSense (INVN)
Motion processor vendor InvenSense did not win a spot inside of the 2013 iPhone 5S, but it did secure spots in both the iPhone 6-series as well as the iPhone 6s-series of smartphones with its MP67B 6-axis gyroscope and accelerometer solution.

Although there is a chance that Apple has actually chosen to stick with the ST Micro (STM -0.21%) motion processor that was found in the old iPhone 5s , I think the odds are in favor of one from InvenSense. Indeed, Apple is buying the InvenSense parts in such high volumes to support sales of the iPhone 6-series and 6s-series of phones that it could be both simpler and cheaper for Apple to use InvenSense chips for the SE, as well.

To the extent that iPhone SE sales take the place of would-be iPhone 5s sales, rather than cannibalize iPhone 6/6s-series phone sales, InvenSense could stand to benefit. We'll have to see what the official tear-downs reveal, though.

Potential Winner:  Broadcom (AVGO -1.81%)
The iPhone 5s came with an 802.11n Wi-Fi solution and a category 3 LTE modem. At the time of launch, these were hardly leading edge solutions, but they were "good enough" for the time. The new iPhone SE comes with an 802.11ac Wi-Fi radio as well as a slightly faster category 4 LTE modem.

Broadcom should benefit from this in two ways. Firstly, the 802.11ac radio is almost certainly a higher-value component than the 802.11n radio found inside of the iPhone 5s. Broadcom should benefit from the inclusion of a higher-value Wi-Fi solution in Apple's entry-level iPhone.

Broadcom also provides RF chips into the iPhone and it is likely that the RF content required to support the faster category 4 LTE modem is greater than that required to support the slower category 3 LTE modem in the iPhone 5s.

Potential Winner(s): Memory Makers
The iPhone 5s came with just 1 gigabyte of now-old LPDDR3 memory. The iPhone SE, on the other hand, packs 2 gigabytes of faster, more efficient, and likely more costly to-Apple LPDDR4 memory. This would suggest that Apple's memory suppliers are poised to benefit from this increase in memory content.

Typical iPhone memory vendors have traditionally been SK Hynix, Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF), and Micron (MU -1.46%). I suspect that all three will ultimately see some benefit from the increase in memory content in the iPhone SE vis-à-vis the iPhone 5s (and, to the extent that the SE cannibalizes them, the iPhone 6-series).

Ashraf Eassa has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple and InvenSense. We Fools may not 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.

Stocks Mentioned

Apple Stock Quote
$147.81 (-0.34%) $0.50
Broadcom Stock Quote
$540.80 (-1.81%) $-9.95
STMicroelectronics Stock Quote
$38.67 (-0.21%) $0.08
Micron Technology Stock Quote
Micron Technology
$54.68 (-1.46%) $0.81
InvenSense, Inc. Stock Quote
InvenSense, Inc.

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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