Another source is backing up reports that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is due to start making a new edition of the iPhone in preparation for a launch at the end of this year. Morgan Stanley has issued a research note that says production of the so-called iPhone 5 is due to begin in August, while it has also lowered its estimates for sales of the current models of the iPhone for Q3. And for good measure, Deutsche Bank has also jumped on another iPhone speculation: there will be two new devices coming to market.
The Morgan Stanley note, written by analyst Katy Huberty, noted several details about iPhone and iPad production that it picked up after meetings in Taiwan last week.
She notes that the next iPhone will start to get made in August, and “ramp aggressively” into the fourth quarter. Huberty believes that the launch of the new device will mean fewer sales and shipments of the existing iPhone 4, so it is lowering estimates for Q3 and raising them for Q4 by two million units. The total number for the whole year — 72 million units — remains unchanged. (The full table is at the bottom of the post.)
She also writes that Apple itself is forecasting a “large” iPhone unit increase in 2012, “on the back of new products and potentially lower price points,” which again points to the idea of Apple developing a nano-style device, or potentially continuing to offer the iPhone 4 but at a rate reduced to accommodate the newer model(s).
Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore predicts (via Forbes) something along similar lines to this: he writes in his own note that clients can expect Apple to come out with two devices: a high-end iPhone 5 and a “4S” model that will sell at a lower price point, come unlocked and focused on the prepay market.
Other points raised by Morgan Stanley:
— Post-Japan earthquake production constraints have eased, which has had a knock on in terms of the number of iPads on the market. Because of this Apple will be reducing its iPad production in the short term.
— Price cuts: A bigger supply of components means Apple will be negotiating for a bigger price cut — some have alleged as much as ten percent — which should make for better margins on its devices.
— Apple TV? There are a lot of nay-sayers, but Morgan Stanley says yes on this one. It believes Apple is in the early stages of design for a TV, and it believes such a product could add $19 billion of annual revenue, and and $4.50 in earnings per share longer-term.
Contrasting view: Analyst Horace Dediu, of Asymco, notes that Morgan Stanley’s estimates in this note are giving Apple a much lower growth rate than the rest of the mobile market at large. “A 20 percent growth rate in Q3 and Q4 would place the iPhone at lower growth rates than Blackberry and far below smartphone market,” he writes. “At 20 percent growth, HTC would be growing five times faster than Apple, Motorola (NYSE: MMI) four times and RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) two times.”
He told mocoNews, in an email exchange, that these numbers compares the rates in Morgan Stanley’s estimates with those put out by Morgan Stanley for wider market growth. “The problem is that one side of their house projects the overall market growing at 50 percent or more and then another side projects individual companies growing at 20 percent or less. These two views are never reconciled,” he notes.