Analyst: Apple may miss Q1 and Q2 estimates due to older iPhone popularity

“UBS’s Steve Milunovich this morning weighs in with some negative thoughts for Apple (AAPL), which is due to report fiscal Q1 results next Tuesday, January 26th, based on a survey of Apple shoppers,” Tiernan Ray reports for Barron’s.

“Milunovich, who has a Buy rating on Apple stock, and a $130 price target, relates the findings of an outfit called Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, which surveys 500 buyers of Apple products each quarter,” Ray reports. “The survey is U.S. only.”

“The results of that September to December questioning shows that Apple’s older models of iPhones were more popular than they had been in past, somewhat eclipsing sales of the newer 6s and 6s Plus models,” Ray reports. “Specifically, he thinks sales of the newer models were 67% of total iPhone sales in the December quarter, down from the 75% of the mix that the 6 and 6 Plus — last year’s new models — made up at the same time a year ago.”

Survey data for this quarter indicates a moderate shift to older phones year-over- year. The weighted average no-contract retail price declined 2% sequentially and 1% year-over-year. Average screen size and storage per device improved a bit, but retail prices were likely lower as the percentage of new 6s models was down 7-8 points YoY and below historical norms. There has been concern that consumers are less enthusiastic about the feature and performance gains with the latest iPhone 6s/6s+ models. Indeed, more consumers appear to be opting for last year’s iPhone 6 models that are priced $100 lower. — UBS analyst Steve Milunovich, January 20, 2016

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s tough to extrapolate iPhone mix estimates based on data from a single U.S. survey.

That said, with iPhone 6s, “everything’s changed,” except for Apple’s stubborn, pigheaded, and stupid tick-tock iPhone naming scheme which implicitly screams to the entire world: “Nothing’s changed!”

If Milunovich’s estimates end up being right, we told Apple so last September:

Apple, enough with the stupid iPhone ‘S’ naming already.

iPhone “S” years usher in hugely significant features, such as oleophobic displays, significant GPU improvements, world phone capability, Siri personal assistant, video stabilization, panorama photos, 64-bit processors, TD-LTE support, Touch ID, and 3D Touch, among other improvements and additions. Each year’s iPhone deserves its own number. By not doing so, Apple is shooting itself in the foot; handicapping iPhones with an “S” every other year. Why Tim Cook or Phil Schiller haven’t put an end to this stupid – yes, stupid – “S” naming is inexplicable. Why don’t you just name it “iPhone No Big Deal This Year,” Tim and Phil?

Here’s what you say onstage and in the press release when there’s no “iPhone 7s” and you jump directly from iPhone 7 to iPhone 8: “The improvements are such that the new iPhone deserves its own number.” Period. Done. Mission accomplished. It’s your naming convention, Apple, and you can correct your stupid mistake at any time.MacDailyNews, September 9, 2015

UBS: Apple’s quarterly results unlikely to help stock next week – January 20, 2016

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David E.” for the heads up.]


      1. i see many things wrong with this survey, and yes you can infer anything from a number of people asked a question, but this is what the article is missing:

        what was the question asked?
        how was it asked (inference)?
        by what medium/at which location was it asked (by phone or apple store)?
        and most important, what is the demographics of the individuals asked (coastal or mountain, rich or poor, male or female, tech savvy or not, native or immigrant, upgrader or first time user, switcher from another platform or die-hard apple enthusiast.. etc….)?

        Other than that, i did a survey and we decided that statisticians just pull numbers out of their ass when it comes to this small a sampling size in one country out of the planet with no corresponding data

        just more pus from an analcyst

        1. I’m totally disagree with some of MDN’s takes lately. In the past they were always spot on, lately they seem to have a new writer on occasion or the old writer is having grumpy spells.

          I disagree about the naming convention, in fact if I were at Apple I would suggest using the naming conventions they use for their other products = iPhone. No S. No number.

          I think they should always be iPhones and nothing else, unless they need a “mini” moniker to differentiate the smaller ones. Even the “plus” moniker for bigger ones isn’t bad. But please ditch the numbers and the S’s. All iMacs are iMacs. All Apple TV’s are Apple TV’s. etc. etc. It is time for all iPhones and iPads to be just iPhones and iPads. IMO

  1. I know that the high US dollar is causing this effect in Canada in my experience. Some people I know went 6 rather than 6S simply because the 6 is even more than last year and the 6S is a new higher retail price. I’ve also seen some potential switchers reluctantly stay Android just because of sticker shock. The pathetic Canadian dollar means the raw price of the phone is almost 50% higher, so $400+ dollars more, and thus the subsidized prices have doubled.

  2. I have no interest in buying a new iPhone until there is a normal sized unit. I do not want a Phablet phone, I want a normal pocketable, singe hand usable, iPhone.

    I’ll keep my 5s until they make one.

    A four inch phone is the perfect size for a smartphone.

  3. Exactly what company can increase sales numbers quarter after quarter, year after year except some new growth company. Smartphones are unique from almost any tech product on the planet. Apple can practically sell new iPhones every year and with a rather large customer base. You can’t do that with cars, TVs, watches, home appliances, etc. which have far longer replacement cycles. I don’t understand what investors see so wrong with Apple being as it is. Apple will also continually get money from services as the iPhone is being used. OK, so Apple will no longer be a growth company but how is that bad as long as the cash flow remains steady and the profits and cash pile up? Apple will still keep it’s books well into the black and shouldn’t that be a good thing for investors. Gambling on constant growth is stupid because no company can keep that up forever.

    The news media acts as if Apple is a dying company when in fact the growth may be merely slowing each quarter. Right now, we don’t even have proof that is actually happening. It’s only rumors and speculation at this point. As long as Apple is still opening stores and hiring new employees, that should somewhat prove Apple still has a slowly growing business.

  4. At some point, the smartphone market begins to saturate, and at the same time, the reasons to upgrade become less-compelling as Apple works to find new ways to keep people interested, while still enjoying the economies of scale that come with continuing cases and components. By being able to lower the price of last-year’s models, Apple is able to reach a larger audience.

    I don’t think this has anything to do with the 6/6s naming convention, as much as the fact that people are settling into a 2-year upgrade cycle with phones that now have the size, all-day battery life, decent cameras, and all of the features that they need. Particularly size – there was pent-up demand for larger phones, obviously, and that demand was met the year before, so there’s a natural ebb this year, as the 6 models got cheaper for people who couldn’t justify the new features of the 6s.

    1. Apple needs to expand their Apple Upgrade installment plan from being available at Apple Stores to being available online and from carriers.

      Once a customer is on that plan, they will forever have the convenient annual upgrade option.

      Apple will be in a good position to encourage/facilitate annual upgrades the seemingly cost the customer nothing (since their monthly payments don’t go up, just continue for longer.)

    2. “By being able to lower the price of last-year’s models, Apple is able to reach a larger audience.”

      An excellent observation missed by Milunovich. This year’s 2nd tier iPhone (6/6 Plus) is priced $100 higher than last year’s 2nd tier iPhone (5S). So even if more opt for a year old 6/6 Plus than the 6S/6S Plus than they did a year ago when the alternative was the 6/6 Plus or 5S, the ASP for iPhone will increase to more than $700 (first time ever).

  5. Apple do not break down models of iPhones sold. Most iPhones sold last quarter were mostly iPhone 4S as per analyst from Wacko Investment Manage To Empty Your Wealth, Inc., Ltd. Plc.

  6. Recently I wanted to buy an iPhone 6 with 64GB, but I got tricked (sort of) into buying a 6s with 16GB instead.
    Now I’m annoyed every day about the 16GB because effectively, this limitation makes the phone a one trick pony
    (any trick but only one).
    It was my wrong choice, but, Apple, please stop selling premium phones with anti-premium memory. NOW. You don’t sell Macbooks with 32GB memory either, for good reason.

  7. I think Apple should have done away with the 6 Plus, instead keeping the 6S Plus the flagship phone. That way anyone who wanted to opt for the most premium screen purchased their home with the highest ASP.

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