Date: Monday, November 7th, 2016, 05:05
Category: Finance, Hardware, iPhone, retail, Rumor
As nifty as the iPhone SE may be, it probably won’t be refreshed in the coming year.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released a report to investors state that Apple will prolong iPhone SE’s lifecycle beyond the usual one year rotation in a bid to boost gross margins and minimize cannibalization of high-end flagships like the iPhone 7.
To the point, Kuo noted that it seems unlikely that Apple will launch a new iPhone SE handset in the second fiscal quarter of 2017, which for Apple ends in March. The 4-inch iPhone variant debuted this year on March 31, leaving some to speculate that a next-generation version with updated internals would see release at roughly the same time in 2017. Kuo does not mention plans beyond the second quarter, meaning a refresh might land later in the year.
The decision to hold off on a next-gen iPhone SE is thought to be due to Apple’s lower than expected gross margin guidance for the first quarter of 2017. During Apple’s recent quarterly earnings call, the company said it anticipated gross margins between 38 percent and 38.5 percent for Q1 of 2017, below consensus of more than 39 percent and down from 40.1 percent in 2015.
Apple has also placed pressure on component manufacturers to reduce their prices as a means of reducing supply chain costs. Major suppliers of key components, like Samsung and TSMC, have bargaining power and are unlikely to be impacted by the belt-tightening, but smaller producers could see calls for price cuts arrive in November and December.
Kuo forecasts iPhone shipment volumes of 40 million to 50 million units for the current quarter, down year-over-year from 51.2 million units, on conservative sell-through for 4.7-inch iPhones and weakening demand in China. Looking ahead, he estimates total iPhone shipment volume to reach 35 million to 40 million units in the second quarter of 2017, down from 40.4 million units at the same time last year.
As a result, you might have to wait until 2018 for a next-gen iPhone SE.