KGI Securities


'KGI Securities' Articles

2016 MacBook Pro May Include OLED Display Touch Bar and Touch ID

Apple plans to introduce a revamped high-end MacBook Pro this year that'll include a thinner and lighter form factor, Touch ID and a new OLED display touch bar above the keyboard, according to a new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The new MacBook Pro would come in 13- and 15-inch variations and arrive in the fourth quarter of 2016. While long overlooked, the MacBook line is the brightest spot for Apple’s 2016 rollouts. This is particularly true of the two new MacBook Pro models, to be introduced in 4Q16, as they will have a thinner and lighter form factor, Touch ID, use OLED display touch bar (to replace physical function keys, located above the keyboard) and adopt USB- C / Thunderbolt 3.Kuo calls the new MacBook Pro updates the "most significant upgrade ever undertaken by Apple." The new "thin and light" design will be helped by new metal injection mold-made hinges and the butterfly-mechanism keyboards that debuted in the 12-inch MacBook. There has been speculation Apple would introduce Touch ID to MacBooks and, in the meantime, Apple engineers are working on a way users could unlock their Macs with Touch ID on iPhone. The 12-inch MacBook will also be joined by a 13-inch MacBook, according to Kuo. The analyst believes that Apple will move forward with all three MacBook lines this year, with the MacBook Pro occupying the high-end slot, the MacBook will replace the Air as the medium-level model and the MacBook Air will serve as an entry-level model with comparatively low prices. In April, it was reported that the new MacBook Pros would see slimmer

Apple to Produce Single iPhone 7 Plus Model With Dual-Lens Camera and 3GB RAM

Apple plans to produce a single iPhone 7 Plus that will ship with a dual-lens camera and 3GB of RAM to compensate for increased image processing demands, according to a new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that walks back from past reports suggesting Apple would produce two iPhone 7 Plus models. Earlier rumors from Kuo indicated Apple was working on multiple versions of the iPhone 7 Plus -- a model with a single lens camera to match the iPhone 7 and a second "Pro" model with a dual-lens camera -- but Kuo now believes this is no longer Apple's plan as a single-camera iPhone 7 Plus would undermine demand for the dual-camera model. Apple is expected to continue producing two iPhone models, in 4.7 and 5.5-inch sizes.In a previous report, we said the new 5.5-inch iPhone model (referred to as iPhone 7 Plus), to be launched in 2H16, may come in two versions: one with rear single-camera and the other with rear dual-camera. However, we now believe Apple (US) will only roll out the dual-camera version in 2H16, with 3GB RAM to meet image processing requirements, and we estimate shipments of this model in 2016F of 20-30mn units.Kuo does not foresee any significant supply bottlenecks that would affect production of the dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus, but because of design constraints, he predicts optical zoom capabilities, which have been previously rumored for the device, will be limited. Today's report from Kuo follows the leak of design blueprints said to be sourced from Apple supplier Catcher Technology, which suggest that the iPhone 7 Plus will also exclusively

Decline in iPhone Shipments Could Make Apple Worst-Performing Top Five Smartphone Brand of 2016

Apple's global iPhone shipments will fall short of analysts' consensus estimates of 210 to 230 million units in the 2016 fiscal year, according to a new research note issued by respected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a worst case scenario, iPhone shipments in 2016 are expected to reach just 190 million units, which is an 18% reduction in shipment growth and 3 million fewer iPhones than Apple sold in 2014. Even in a best case scenario, said Kuo, Apple is expected to sell 205 million units, 5 million short of the lower end of analysts' estimate range and amounting to a 11.6% reduction in growth. Regardless of the best or worst case scenario, Kuo predicts Apple will underperform the industry and become the only global top-five smartphone brand to see shipments decline in 2016. Mockup of iPhone 7 case. The analyst described slowing market demand for large-screen handset replacements and limited iPhone 7 selling points as key factors behind the expected decline, noting that the contribution of revised-up iPhone SE shipments in the 2016 fiscal year will remain "insignificant". Given the fact that shipments fell YoY for the first time in 1Q16, we don't think large-screen replacement demand will contribute much to growth. To sustain growth, the iPhone needs to come up with more innovative features to revitalize the user experience, for example in form factor design, software and hardware specs. We don't see many attractive selling points for iPhone 7 in 2H16 and are conservative on 2H16F shipments. While we revise up 2016F iPhone SE shipments from 12mn to 18mn

Apple to Release iPhone With Glass Casing and AMOLED Screen in 2017

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new report that again predicts Apple will switch to non-aluminum casing, with glass being the most likely candidate, for the majority of new iPhone models starting in 2017. If accurate, the design change would not apply to the iPhone 7 expected to launch this September. Specifically, Kuo believes that in order to differentiate iPhone from an increasing number of competing aluminum smartphones, Apple will return to iPhone 4s-like glass casing next year to allow for an all-new form-factor design. The switch would allow Apple to again "enhance the competitiveness" and innovation of iPhone.If iPhone 7 still uses an aluminum casing in 2016, it will be the fifth year in a row that iPhone has done so, which means there is no longer a feeling of freshness to appeal to consumers. Also, a lot of Apple’s (US) competitors are also adopting aluminum casings, which means iPhone no longer has a clear edge due to a lack of differentiation. On expectations that iPhone shipments will decline in 2016, we believe Apple will be more strongly motivated to use non-aluminum casings in 2017 in a bid to enhance the competitiveness of iPhone by offering an all-new form-factor design. The oft-reliable analyst adds that the ratio of new iPhone models using aluminum casing will likely drop from 100% currently to 40% or less, indicating that some aluminum-based iPhones will likely remain available for at least the short term. This could be older models like the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 series. Kuo notes that some investors are concerned that glass

Apple Watch 2 Expected to Focus on Internal Upgrades Rather Than External Changes, Launch in Late 2016

Apple Watch shipments will decline more than 25 percent year-over-year in comparison to 2015, according to a new research note issued by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The wearable device sold an estimated 10.6 million units in eight months last year, but Kuo predicts that even with the launch of the Apple Watch 2, and a full twelve months of sales, the device's shipments will still come in at less than 7.5 million units in 2016. The analyst describes an "immature wearable device market" and a few key lacking features of the first-generation Apple Watch -- iPhone independency, no killer app, limited battery life, etc. -- that will contribute to its overall sales decline prior to the launch of the second-generation version. Kuo believes that the Apple Watch 2 will enter mass production in the third quarter of 2016, in line with a fall launch alongside the iPhone 7, so its overall contribution to shipping numbers for the year is predicted to be limited. Kuo's note also predicts some of the features of the next version of the Apple Watch, which is expected to adopt the same upgrade cycle as the iPhone. In essence, 2016's Apple Watch 2 will see some under-the-hood spec improvements and possibly minor form factor changes, while fans will have to wait until 2017 for a massively redesigned wearable from Apple. The similar design is one of Kuo's biggest reasons for declining Apple Watch shipments in 2016, despite even the uptick in sales the device could have during the holiday season. The recent KGI Securities research note directly conflicts with a report from

iPhone SE Sales Forecasted as 'Lackluster' Over First Weekend

While it appears that Apple has elected not to share first weekend sales numbers for the iPhone SE, as it has done in the past for some flagship models, multiple analysts have forecasted that sales of the new 4-inch smartphone were "lackluster" during its first three to four days of availability. In a research note issued today, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo questioned last week's CNBC report claiming that iPhone SE orders topped 3.4 million in China, and added that demand for the iPhone SE "has been significantly lower than that of past new models" since launching on March 31.Lackluster iPhone SE demand supports our view. Although there exists a market survey that indicates iPhone SE preorders top 3.4mn units in China, we couldn’t find more evidence to support this. However, judging by the delivery time for iPhone SE preorders, we believe initial demand for the iPhone SE following the announcement has been significantly lower than that of past new models. We believe this is due in part to lackluster demand for smaller-size smartphones and, more importantly, that the product itself offers no significant upgrades to form factor or hardware specs.Mobile analytics firm Localytics echoed Kuo, claiming that iPhone SE adoption was "lackluster" following the device's launch. According to the firm's research, the iPhone SE "managed to grab only 0.1% of the iPhone market" over its first weekend of sales, which marked lower adoption than the iPhone 5s and all of the "6" models. Apple launched the iPhone SE last Thursday on the same day as Tesla began accepting

Dual Camera Said to Be Exclusive to 5.5-Inch iPhone 7

Dual cameras will be exclusive to Apple's next-generation 5.5-inch iPhone, according to a new research note issued by respected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.New iPhone shipments to be capped by similar form factor as iPhone 6s & 6s Plus; top hardware upgrade is dual-camera (5.5-inch model only), though many competing models with dual-camera will launch soon, joining others already on the market; first impressions could underwhelm.Rumors surrounding dual-camera iPhones have gained momentum since January, when Kuo said that Apple has both single- and dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus models in development. Recent reports have been unclear, however, about whether the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 will also have dual cameras. Leaks surrounding the rumored dual cameras have been limited to a blurry photo of the purported iPhone 7 Plus (or iPhone Pro?) and a possible dual-lens module appropriate for the 5.5-inch smartphone. Apple reportedly received dual-lens camera samples from suppliers for testing purposes in February. LinX Technology multi-aperture camera modules The rumored camera improvements have been linked to Apple's acquisition of LinX Technology, which could lead to "DSLR-quality" photos on iPhones. LinX's multi-aperture cameras are also smaller sized than single-aperture cameras, meaning the iPhone 7 Plus could have a slightly less protruding camera lens. LinX camera modules have a number of other benefits, including 3D depth mapping, better color accuracy and uniformity, ultra HDR, low noise levels, higher resolution, low costs, zero shutter lag, and a compact design

New 4" iPhone With 12MP Camera Said to Cost $400-$500, iPhone 5s to Receive 50% Price Cut

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a research note to investors, a copy of which was obtained by MacRumors, in which he claims Apple's next-generation 4-inch iPhone will feature a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera, as opposed to an 8-megapixel sensor as previously rumored. Kuo also reiterated that the new 4-inch iPhone will have other similar hardware specs as the iPhone 6s, including an A9 chip and NFC for Apple Pay. The device's form factor is expected to be similar to the iPhone 5s, although the display is said to have slightly curved 2.5D glass like the iPhone 6 and newer. Apple's new 4-inch iPhone could also feature 16GB and 64GB storage capacities, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, Live Photos support, and a slightly larger 1,642 mAh battery compared to the iPhone 5s. 3D Touch will likely remain exclusive to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus as a differentiating feature. The well-informed analyst continues to believe the smartphone will cost between $400 and $500 in the United States. The lower price point should help Apple target the mid- to low-price segment and drive iPhone sales in emerging markets such as China and India. Comparatively, the larger iPhone 6s starts at $649. KGI Securities expects total 4-inch iPhone shipments to grow 131% year-over-year to 37 million units in 2016, on the strength of the new 4-inch iPhone launch and a 50% price cut on the iPhone 5s. Apple currently sells the iPhone 5s for $450 at full retail price, so the smartphone may soon be discounted to $225. The research firm has lowered its new 4-inch iPhone

iPhone 7 Plus Likely to Have Dual-Lens Camera Based on LinX Technology

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a research note obtained by MacRumors that predicts two 5.5-inch versions of the "iPhone 7 Plus" are in development, one with a single iSight rear-facing camera and another boasting a dual-camera design. The rumored iPhone 7 Plus model with a dual-lens camera system would take advantage of imaging algorithms that Apple acquired through its purchase of Israeli camera technology company LinX Imaging last year. iPhone 7 mockup with dual-lens camera system (Image: Computer Bild) LinX technology offers several improvements the iPhone 7 Plus could benefit from, including multiple sensors for a smaller size, possibly eliminating the need for a protruding camera lens. The lenses would also have better sensitivity to light and greatly improved image quality in low light. Specifically, Kuo cites the LinX Imaging algorithm for its unique ability to achieve high-end dual-camera applications such as optical zoom simulation while sidestepping the traditional bottlenecks associated with compact camera module (CCM) assembly. To that end, Kuo expects a 2-3x optical zoom function to feature in Apple's iPhone 7 Plus. However, owing to supply chain constraints on dual-camera modules, the KGI analyst expects the larger handset to come in single-camera and dual-camera versions. Apple is well known for headlining improvements to the camera technology in its iPhones and showcasing their photography capabilities as a market-leading feature. Even so, major improvements to camera technology have typically come in "S" release

No 3D Touch for iPad Air 3 Due in First Half of 2016, iPhone 7’s 3D Touch Tech Similar to iPhone 6s

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a research note obtained by MacRumors that predicts the iPad Air 3 will be released in the first half of 2016 and is unlikely to adopt 3D Touch because of production issues within Apple's supply chain. Kuo also believes the iPhone 7's pressure-sensitive 3D Touch display will have "similar technology and structure" as the iPhone 6s. The report confirms the iPhone 7 will be released in 2016, likely around Apple's usual September timeframe. Apple could unveil the iPad Air 3 at its rumored March 2016 event, where it is expected to introduce a new 4-inch iPhone and the second-generation Apple Watch. Apple last held a March 2015 event to announce the 12-inch Retina MacBook and Apple Watch pricing and release date information. Apple often releases new iPads in the fall, but it did not announce the iPad Air 3 at its eventful September 2015 keynote, instead focusing its efforts on introducing the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro, iPad mini 4, Apple TV 4 and Apple Watch Hermès. Apple announced the iPad Air 2 in October 2014. Apple introduced the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in September with 3D Touch as a headline new feature. The pressure-sensing technology enables iPhone users to perform additional "Peek" and "Pop" gestures to access Quick Action shortcut menus or preview content within apps. 3D Touch also enables iPhone 6s and 6s Plus users to press the left side of the Home screen to switch to multitasking view, press lightly for finer lines or more deeply for thicker ones in Notes, swipe left or right to

New A9-Based 4-Inch iPhone Expected to Launch Early 2016 With Apple Pay and Colorful Metal Casing

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a research note corroborating rumors that Apple will release a new 4-inch iPhone next year, which he believes will resemble an upgraded iPhone 5s and launch in early 2016. While new model may not generate huge sales, Apple still has good reasons to launch. These are: (1) still-existing demand for 4-inch smartphones. We estimate 15-17mn 4-inch iPhones will be shipped in 2015. We estimate the new 4-inch model will account for 8-9% of total iPhone shipments in 2016F; (2) expected price of US$400-500, with the aim of penetrating emerging markets and consumers on smaller budgets; and (3) adoption of NFC will support Apple Pay, benefiting the ecosystem. Kuo expects the new 4-inch iPhone to have an A9 chip manufactured by both TSMC and Samsung, 2.5D cover glass with curved edges like on the iPhone 6s, NFC for Apple Pay, metal casing with at least two to three color options, and identical camera specs to the iPhone 5s -- an 8-MP rear-facing camera and 1.2-MP front shooter. Kuo forecasted that full-year shipments of the new 4-inch iPhone will reach 20 million units, with production beginning in the first quarter of 2016. The research note said the new 4-inch iPhone could be priced at between $400 and $500 in the U.S., which would be $149 to $249 cheaper than the 16GB iPhone 6s. The analyst also reaffirmed that the iPhone 6s may not outsell the iPhone 6, with a possible 30%-40% decline in quarter-over-quarter shipments, based on recently slowed orders within the supply chain. Kuo believes the new 4-inch iPhone could help the

iPhone Unlikely to Adopt AMOLED Display in Foreseeable Future

Apple is unlikely to adopt AMOLED displays for next-generation iPhones in the foreseeable future, according to often-reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The analyst believes Apple will continue using TFT-LCD display technology for at least the next three years -- and likely beyond. Kuo claims that Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, is preparing to invest in advanced TFT-LCD production lines in China for mass production in 2018, and coupled with recent comments made by iPhone backlight supplier Minebea, the analyst believes iPhones will continue using TFT-LCD displays in the future.Based on recent comments by Minebea, one of the main iPhone backlight unit suppliers, we believe AMOLED will not penetrate iPhone for the next three years. Moreover, Hon Hai is preparing to invest in Gen-6 LTPS TFT-LCD production lines in Zhengzhou, China for mass production in 2018, suggesting the iPhone line will likely stick with TFT-LCD technology in 2018 and thereafter. […] Minebea, major BLU supplier of iPhone, stated to investors on November 5 that it does not foresee risk of TFT-LCD share loss to AMOLED in high-end smartphone market in next three years & guides growth in TFT-LCD going forward. As Apple and Samsung are the only two brands that currently offer premium smartphones, we think Minebea’s statements imply it does not expect iPhone to adopt AMOLED in the coming three years, given that Samsung’s models are already being equipped with it.Taiwanese website DigiTimes, citing a report in the Korea-based ET News, said in late October

Apple Predicted to Launch A9-Based 4-Inch iPhone in Early 2016, iPhone 7 Plus to Carry 3 GB of RAM

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released a new research report outlining his expectations for Apple's 2016 iPhone launches, including several interesting tidbits about the upcoming devices. First, Kuo believes Apple still has a new 4-inch iPhone in the works that "resembles an upgraded iPhone 5s". The device is said to be targeted for launch in the first half of next year and will come equipped with an A9 processor.As there is still demand for a 4-inch iPhone, we believe Apple will upgrade this product line. Because the iPhone 5s is more popular than the iPhone 5c, we think Apple is likely to launch an upgraded iPhone 5s. We predict Apple will mass-produce this new 4-inch iPhone in 1H16 with metal casings. In order to make the current iOS 9 or next-generation iOS 10 run smoothly, Apple may adopt an A9 chip for this new phone.Kuo believes this new 4-inch iPhone will not include 3D Touch support as part of an effort to keep it differentiated from the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. He also projects Apple could ship 20-30 million units of this new iPhone through the end of 2016. Looking ahead to the next full refresh with the iPhone 7, Kuo expects the usual third-quarter launch in 2016 with an unsurprising upgrade to a new A10 chip to offer increased performance. He does, however, believe Apple will opt to differentiate between the two sizes of the iPhone 7 when it comes to RAM, with the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 carrying the same 2 GB seen in current iPhones while the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus will include 3 GB of RAM for performance reasons. Kuo believes major winners for

KGI Forecasts Around 75M iPhone and 4M Apple Watch Sales During Holiday Shopping Season

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released shipments forecasts for the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch for upcoming fiscal quarters. Kuo estimates between 70-75 million iPhone and 3.5-4 million Apple Watch shipments during Q1 2016 of the fiscal year, which encompasses the busy holiday shopping season in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Europe and many other regions. In a research note, a copy of which was obtained by MacRumors, Kuo believes that iPhone sales momentum could gradually decline in the new year, possibly enough for the device to experience its first year-over-year shipments decline in the first quarter of a year in 2016.We estimate iPhone shipments rose 2.1% QoQ and 23.6% YoY to 48.5mn units in 3Q15, of which 20-22mn units were iPhone 6s. We attribute the solid YoY growth to the inclusion of China as the first-launch market for iPhone 6s and to increased output of the new model (versus 14-15mn units of iPhone 6 in 3Q14). However, as we do not expect overall demand for iPhone 6s to be significantly stronger than that for iPhone 6, we expect shipments momentum could gradually decline in 4Q15-1Q16F on a YoY basis. We expect iPhone may see its first YoY shipments decline in the first quarter of a year in 2016.Kuo also forecasts between 14.5-15.5 million iPad shipments and 5.4-5.6 million Mac shipments in fiscal Q1 2016, which lines up with Q4 2015 of the calendar year, a three-month period ending December 31. The analyst expects iPad Pro shipments to be around 2 million in fiscal Q1 2016, and believes the tablet's higher selling price will help

iPhone 6s Plus in Short Supply Due to Backlight Module Production Issues

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a note to investors that claims the iPhone 6s Plus is facing supply shortages amid pre-orders due to backlight module production issues at Japanese supplier Minebea. Kuo says that Apple is looking to resolve the problem by transferring backlight module orders to alternative supplier Radiant. The supplier will see its orders increase by 70-80% to 4-5 million units in September.We believe Minebea’s (JP) backlight module production issues in supplying iPhone 6S Plus (6S Plus) is one of the main factors in the model’s supply shortage. To tackle this issue, we believe Apple (US) has been increasingly transferring high-ASP 6S Plus backlight module orders to Radiant (6176 TT, NT$106.5, OP), boosting its sales momentum.While shipping estimates for the iPhone 6s Plus have slipped to 3-4 weeks or later for most models, Kuo believes the primary reason is because of supply chain problems rather than strong demand. The analyst expects Apple to prepare 1.5 to 2 million iPhone 6s Plus units for sale on September 25 launch day. The switch from Minebea to Radiant should help improve iPhone 6s Plus supply through September.To accelerate availability, we believe Apple has been transferring substantial 6S Plus backlight module orders to Radiant. As such, we estimate the company’s iPhone 6S Plus backlight module orders to increase by 70-80% to 4-5mn units in September, boosting its order allocation from 35-45% to 70-80%.Apple informed the media this morning that iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus pre-orders are "on pace to beat" last year's

'iPhone 7' Thickness Likely to Approach iPod Touch

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new report that suggests next year's "iPhone 7" could be Apple's thinnest smartphone yet, with a thickness of somewhere between 6.0mm and 6.5mm, which Kuo mentions is a near similar measurement of the current iPod touch's 6.1mm. As a comparison, the current model of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are 6.9mm and 7.1mm thick, respectively. The report also states that the company will stick to a similar Force Touch technology in next year's version of the iPhone, due to the heavy amount of time and investment Apple and its suppliers have put into adapting it for this year's "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus." Due to this, Kuo believes that Apple is unlikely to switch from in-cell over to glass-on-glass touch panels next year, which a rumor out of Apple's supply chain in Asia suggested last week. The KGI report says that in-cell panels won't encounter any harsh production bottleneck issues, and that Apple won't be looking to create an iPhone display with a resolution of 4k or higher, so it's more likely for the company to stick with in-cell panels for the time being. The continued use of in-cell panels would also grant Apple the ability to produce an iPhone as thin as Kuo's suggested 6.0mm-6.5mm size. Although glass-on-glass panels allow for the possibility of a bezel-free iPhone, it also limits the ability for the company to create smaller and thinner smartphones, so if KGI's claim of an iPod Touch-size iPhone is true, it would make most sense for the company to keep using in-cell

KGI Expects New iPhones to Have 5MP Front Camera, Retain 16GB, 64GB and 128GB Capacities

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a note to investors that claims the so-called "iPhone 6s" will be offered in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB storage capacities, the same sizes available for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Kuo also claims the iPhone 6s will have an improved front-facing FaceTime camera with a 5-megapixel sensor, and reaffirms three much-rumored features: Force Touch, a new rose gold casing color and an upgraded Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Kuo's prediction corroborates multiple rumors that claim Apple will retain 16GB, 64GB and 128GB storage sizes for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which are expected to be announced at the company's September 9th media event in San Francisco. Kuo says the iPhone 6s entered mass production in mid-August after some manufacturing bottlenecks due to Force Touch, casing and vibration

'iPhone 6s' Could Face Negative Growth Due to Low China Sales & Ambivalence Towards Force Touch

Despite the immense popularity of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, a recent KGI prediction estimates that Apple may sell somewhere between 65 and 75 million of the so-called "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" in Q4 2015, pointing towards a strong possibility of zero or negative growth year-over-year for the smartphone line. According to Apple Daily [Google Translate] (via GforGames), the report states that the two biggest factors for the predicted performance plateau or decline of this year's iPhone lies in weak sales for China and public ambivalence towards Force Touch as a flagship feature of the "S" generation. The analyst quoted by the Taiwanese media says there are two main factors that could contribute to these results. First of all, compared to last year, smartphone sales in China have declined along with the spending power, and as you should all know, China is the largest smartphone market in the world. Secondly, the analyst says that another big reason that could contribute to the iPhone 6s duo yielding zero or negative growth is Force Touch. More to the point, the technology itself should not slow down the market performance, but because Force Touch is supposed to be one of iPhone 6s’ main new driving feature and due to the fact that the public hasn’t been wowed by FT on the Watch and the new MacBook, the inclusion of Force Touch on the upcoming iPhone flagship might not attract as many customers as Apple might hope. Apple still has high hopes for China, remaining bullish on the country as becoming its "largest market in the future," spurring the company

'iPhone 6s' Mass Production Ramping Up in Late August Ahead of Mid-September Debut

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today provided more information on the launch of the next series of iPhones, the so-called "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus," noting that mass production on the smartphone line will begin in late August, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency [Google Translate] (via GforGames). The production ramp-up will reportedly come roughly 1-2 weeks later than originally expected, but the change should not affect Apple's launch plans, which are anticipated to involve a mid-September debut as has been typical for the past several years. iPhone 6s display assembly The analyst notes that Foxconn is manufacturing 60 percent of all iPhone 6s models, with Pegatron taking the remaining 40 percent. Foxconn will reportedly handle all of the manufacturing for the larger-screened "iPhone 6s Plus." Components for the iPhone 6s such as A9 chips and Force Touch-equipped display panels have been said to have been in production for several weeks now, and all of these components will be brought together at Foxconn's and Pegatron's facilities for final assembly. Apple is facing increasing demand for the new line of iPhones, and a few of Foxconn's factories -- such as the one in Zhengzhou -- are rumored to be ramping up overtime for employees heading into mass production just to be able to meet demand. GforGames also notes that slowing production of the iPhone 6 line ahead of the updated models is providing some breathing room for the manufacturing and production of the new iPhones. Earlier in the year, Kuo predicted a mid-to-late August time window

Apple Expected to Launch New iMacs With Improved Processors and Display Quality This Quarter

Apple's iMac line is set to receive a significant boost this quarter in the form of a refresh including new processors and improved display quality, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Display improvements are said to arrive in the form of greater color saturation, but Kuo makes no mention of whether Apple is planning to extend Retina display options to the smaller 21.5-inch iMac lineup.We believe Apple will introduce new iMac models in 3Q15, which are expected to have key selling points such as more powerful processors and much better display quality. We predict the panel will use a LED phosphor material called KSF to notably boost color saturation.While Apple has released several 27-inch Retina iMac models since last October, the remainder of the iMac lineup has not been updated since September 2013 as Apple has had to wait for Intel to release new desktop processors that could allow for a substantial update. With Broadwell processors starting to trickle out and Skylake right around the corner, it appears Apple will finally be able to offer a substantial upgrade for the entire iMac family. Kuo believes that an inventory draw-down in the second quarter, the upcoming new iMacs, and promotions such as the current Back to School program will drive strong sequential growth in iMac shipments for the current quarter, perhaps doubling quarter-over-quarter to one million units. The third calendar quarter is typically very strong for Apple's Mac segment with much of the world in the midst of back to school