We’ve been hearing a lot about iPhone 15 demand in recent weeks, especially when it comes to China. Following a Bloomberg report about disappointing iPhone 15 sales in one of Apple’s biggest markets, analyst Jeff Pu from Haitong International Securities corroborated the news. He also shared more tidbits about what to expect for the iPhone 16 lineup.
iPhone 15 demand not strong enough in China
In a note to investors seen by 9to5Mac, Jeff Pu pointed out that demand for the iPhone 15 is lower than demand for the iPhone 14 in the same period last year. Unsurprisingly, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the most popular model among customers, followed by the iPhone 15 Pro. When it comes to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, demand is weaker.
Pu notes that it’s easy to find the less expensive models with immediate availability in stores around the world. Of course, each region has its own particularities, and there’s a lot going on in China right now.
In China, the iPhone is facing stiff competition from Chinese smartphones, especially from Huawei’s recently launched Mate 60. The phone has a 6.8-inch display with super-thin bezels, high-resolution cameras, and a 5,000mAh battery. Prices start at ¥5999 (around $819), which is $200 less than the iPhone 15 Pro costs there.
Huawei shipped 240 million smartphones in 2019, 100 million of them in China alone. However, due to US sanctions, shipments fell considerably in the following years. But according to Pu, demand for Huawei’s latest smartphones in China is “much stronger than expected.”
For Apple, this certainly represents a risk. China accounted for 22% of total iPhone shipments in the first half of 2023, making it one of the most important regions for Apple. Assuming the iPhone’s market share falls by 4.5% in the country, this would represent around 12 million lost iPhone sales there.
At the same time, iPhone sales remain strong in the US, and Apple is also betting on increased interest in premium smartphones in India, as well as a “seasonal recovery” in the European market to balance the scales.
iPhone 16 rumors
A few days ago, Jeff Pu had already shared some details about what to expect for the iPhone 16. According to the analyst, next year’s Pro models will be equipped with a faster 5G modem, Wi-Fi 7, and a new 48-megapixel ultra-wide lens. In contrast, the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus will get some of the technologies introduced with the iPhone 15 Pro, such as Wi-Fi 6e.
Following a trend from last year, Apple put the A16 Bionic chip from the iPhone 14 Pro inside the regular iPhone 15, while the iPhone 15 Pro got the new 3-nanometer A17 Pro. Because of the name “Pro,” many believed that Apple would develop a non-Pro version of its chips for mid-range iPhones in the future, and that seems to be the case.
However, Pu reported that instead of designing a less powerful chip based on the A17 Pro, all iPhone 16 models will be powered by chips from the A18 family.
The analyst highlighted all the overheating issues surrounding the iPhone 15 Pro, and for him, part of this is due to the poor design of the A17 Pro chip, which isn’t exactly much more powerful or efficient than its predecessor despite being built under the 3 nanometer process.
More specifically, the A17 Pro made by TSMC is based on a manufacturing process known as “N3B.” This process was developed specifically for Apple chips while the N3E process, which will be made available to all TSCM customers, is not yet ready. However, N3E will bring some refinements, such as higher clock speeds and lower power consumption.
Because of this, the analyst believes that Apple will build A18 and A18 Pro chips for the iPhone 16 models, both chips based on the N3E process. Even before the iPhone 15 Pro was announced, there were rumors that Apple didn’t plan to use N3B chips for long and would switch to N3E in 2024.
Apple Vision Pro
In the same note, Jeff Pu also talked about Apple Vision Pro. His sources in Apple’s supply chain revealed that the company expects to ship somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000 units of the headset in 2024, far below what was first expected.
Even so, as interest in AR/VR devices grows, Apple Vision could become a strong platform in the future – especially with the introduction of a less expensive model.
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