Apple iPhone production in 2021 to grow 12.3% YoY – TrendForce

This year, the US and Europe, which are Apple’s main markets for iPhone devices, are seeing an easing of the pandemic and expecting an economic recovery. Furthermore, Apple is expected to benefit from Huawei’s abandonment of some market share for high-end smartphones, and the sales of the new iPhone devices in 2H21 will likely be boosted thanks to this development. On the whole, the outlook on Apple’s performance in the smartphone market for the whole year is positive, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Although the ongoing capacity crunch in the foundry industry will have a constraining effect on Apple in terms of ramping up its iPhone production and growing its market share in the future, TrendForce is still maintaining a cautiously optimistic view and forecasts that the annual total iPhone smartphone production for 2021 will grow by around 12.3% YoY to 223 million units, with additional room for a slight growth going forward.

Apple will prioritize the optimization of existing functions with the iPhone 12s series, while retail prices are expected to remain on par with last year’s release of iPhone 12 models

Apple plans to unveil the next generation of iPhones, tentatively called the iPhone 12s series (official name has yet to be revealed), in September 2021, and the smartphone market has placed the spotlight on the new handsets’ physical appearances as well as retail prices. Regarding the general outward appearance of the upcoming iPhone devices, the notch on top of the screen will shrink due to the decreased size of their sensor housings. Apart from this, other upgrades will mostly relate to the optimization of existing functions and features. All in all, the degree of innovation is not particularly significant in terms of appearance, and the four new models can be regarded as an extension to the iPhone 12 series. Because of this, TrendForce also believes that Apple will continue the proactive pricing strategy that it adopted in 2020 so as to maintain its market share for high-end smartphones. Even though prices of some key components have risen due to tightening supply, Apple is taking into account of the growth in the revenue of peripheral services in relation to the growth of iPhone sales. This means that the starting price of the upcoming iPhone series will likely be relatively on par with the starting price of the iPhone 12 series.

iPhone Production for 2021 Projected to Reach 223 Million Units Due to Increased Vaccinations and Impending Easing of Lockdowns in the US/Europe, Says TrendForce

For the latest iPhone models, Apple has made certain upgrades to the handsets. TrendForce here summarizes the key components of the latest iPhone models, including the processor, display, memory, and camera. The iPhone 12s series will feature the A15 processors manufactured at TSMC’s 5nm+ node. Regarding the display, the new models will be equipped with flexible AMOLED panels with On-cell touchscreen technology; the two Pro models will also feature a 120Hz refresh rate. Judging by the iPhone 12s series’ starting prices as well as the differences among various models’ retail prices, TrendForce expects the new handsets’ memory capacities to remain the same as their iPhone 12 counterparts. On the camera front, Apple has upgraded all iPhone 12s handsets’ main cameras to include sensor-shift image stabilization technologies. For the Pro models, not only are their ultra-wide cameras now equipped with 6P lens (which is an upgrade over the previous generation), but they are also capable of autofocus functions. Notably, it should be pointed out that LiDAR scanners are available in the Pro models only.

On the whole, TrendForce expects the latest iPhone devices to account for about 39% of Apple’s total annual production volume for 2021. As all iPhone 12s handsets contain 5G modems, the share of 5G models in the overall iPhone production is projected to expand massively from 39% in 2020 to 75% in 2021. Furthermore, Apple is expected to focus on driving sales of the three non-mini models in the iPhone 12s series in view of the fact that the iPhone 12 mini (which reached End-of-Life ahead of time in 2Q21) suffered disappointing sales performances compared to other models in the iPhone 12 family.

MacDailyNews Take: “Duuuhhh, what’s that now?” – Goldman Sachs “analyst” Rod Hall.


  1. I’m still under the impression that Wall Street believes Apple’s iPhone business should be valued for zero or negative growth. Apple’s iPhone business represents 54% of Apple’s revenue and many analysts are saying if Apple’s iPhone business slows even slightly, Apple’s overall value will drop considerably. Services revenue doesn’t seem to be large enough for big investors. What can Apple do to improve its revenue stream because Apple refuses to acquire any new businesses like Amazon or Microsoft do for quick jumps in revenue. I don’t know why Apple handicaps itself the way it does when it has such an abundant amount of cash.

    I simply don’t understand why Apple is constantly throwing away cash on buybacks which do nothing for company growth. Trying to sell more iPhones seems counterproductive for Apple as analysts already think iPhones take up too much of Apple’s revenue. Apple is so frustrating as critics say smartphones are old tech that don’t have much of a future.

    1. Totally agreed!

      Apple turned itself into essentially a phone company, and have to agree that smartphones are old tech with not much growth potential.
      When you are running a huge cash surplus, it’s a God-given opportunity for large but smart acquisitions.
      The reason for stock split and buyback is to make wallets of Apple brasses fatter.

      Timiddy Cook does not have essential boldness and courage to extend Apple beyond cozy walls except snapping up tiny businesses in iPhone supply chains. He does not have an underlining technical understanding and flair to enable him looking into the future beyond a fiscal half, let alone ability to know where hockey pack is going to be, thus no leap frog advancement or category-creating new products.

      Competitors know it and measuring the timing to pounce on Apple.

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