After Meeting With Apple CFO, Analyst Believes Lower-Cost iPhone Makes Good Sense

iphone_5_black_whiteFollowing recent meetings with Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty today issued a research note sharing some of her takeaways from those discussions and her views on Apple's future plans.

While she did not disclose any specific information shared by Oppenheimer, Huberty did come away feeling that Apple will be working hard to expand carrier partnerships and distribution for the iPhone to drive growth in Apple's largest segment. She also believes that Apple is working to develop new services to take advantage of the "stickiness" of the Apple ecosystem.

On the topic of the lower-cost iPhone which has been the subject of increasing rumors, Huberty makes the case Apple's experience with the iPad mini and continued strong sales of the iPhone 4 that saw the company experiencing shortages throughout the fourth quarter of 2012 are driving the company's efforts to focus more on cheaper offerings.

We also see several signs that a lower priced iPhone makes sense: 1) iPad Mini is expanding Apple's customer base with 50% of purchases in China/Brazil representing new customers to the ecosystem. 2) Chinese consumers show a desire to purchase the latest version of iPhone (instead of discounted older generations). 3) iPhone 4 demand surprised to the upside in the December quarter. Even at a low 40% gross margin and 1/3 cannibalization rate, we see an "iPhone Mini" as incremental to revenue and gross profit dollars.

Huberty goes on to note that she believes Apple has maintained its long-standing approach to product decisions under the leadership of Tim Cook and that the company remains committed to innovation with a strong product pipeline under development. Despite continued investments in that pipeline, Huberty believes that Apple is likely to return more cash to shareholders as its cash holdings continue to grow.

Top Rated Comments

iMikeT Avatar
101 months ago
As usual, I stopped reading at "analyst".
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cojocu Avatar
101 months ago

As usual, I stopped reading at "analyst".



This.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iMcLovin Avatar
101 months ago

why lower cost? its already free with carrier subsidies.

where would this have its advantage? only outside USA?


I never understood americans view un subsidised phones?? It seems you think you are getting the phones for free, you even refer to the subsidised price when you talk about how much the phones cost. Do you know that you are actually paying more for the phone than they would cost paying full price right away? ...but the price is baked into the subscription...and the more money you pay to your carrier, the less you will have to pay for the phone.

We have these offers in Europe too, and most people use them, but at least we know it´s not a free phone.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ctdonath Avatar
101 months ago
At some point the current target market gets saturated. Much as I love :apple: products, I'm only gonna have 1 iPad, 1 iPhone, 2 Macs (home & work) at a time, and (when available) 1 iWatch, upgrading each no more than every 2 years (and probably a lot less often); likewise for most current customers. The $500-$5000 market audience is limited and heading toward saturated. More products in that range will not sell proportionately more.

If :apple: is gonna grow more, they have to address & expand fringes. Higher cost devices is a exponentially-decreasing category. That leaves cheaper ... so of course lower-cost iPhones make sense. Make 'em more akin to iPod Nanos with phone capability.

Stickiness works. I bought an iPod Shuffle, and now I've got 4 iDevices in front of me, 4 more at home, and write iOS apps for a living. I have been assimilated. Resistance is futile.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Squilly Avatar
101 months ago
I still hate the idea. Apple is known for durability. Lowering that destroys their image imo.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleScruff1 Avatar
101 months ago

The problem isn't lowering the price of the phones. It's lowering the price of phone plans. When you have service providers like Verizon, AT&T, etc. sitting on an ever growing mountain of cash that they GOUGE from us every month, you have a problem.


ROFLMAO! Yea, those carriers are gouging while poor Apple's cash pile is only $137 billion. Thank goodness Apple sells their products for a minimal profit to help out the poor consumer.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

0 Deals Hero

Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Deals to Plan For

Saturday November 21, 2020 10:00 am PST by
In the lead-up to Black Friday next week, we've been putting a spotlight on the best deals coming from various retailers like Best Buy and Walmart. In an effort to further prepare our readers for the best Black Friday deals, we're breaking down what we think should be on your radar for Black Friday in 2020. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
2020 apple shopping event

Apple Offering Up to $150 Gift Card With Select Products on Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

Monday November 23, 2020 2:53 am PST by
Apple has announced its annual four-day shopping event, offering customers up to a $150 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of select products between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. The gift card values in the United States are as follows: $150 for 16-inch MacBook Pro $150 for 21.5-inch iMac $50 for 13-inch MacBook Pro $50 for MacBook Air $50 for iPhone SE,...
m1 mac mini vignette

Apple Lists M1-Based Mac Mini Logic Boards With 10 Gigabit Ethernet in Internal Parts Ordering System

Friday November 20, 2020 9:32 am PST by
While the new Mac mini with the M1 chip is only available with Gigabit Ethernet, Apple has listed multiple M1-based Mac mini logic boards with 10 Gigabit Ethernet in an internal parts list for Apple Authorized Service Providers. For every Mac mini logic board with Gigabit Ethernet in the parts list, obtained by MacRumors, there is a corresponding logic board with 10 Gigabit Ethernet:...
ipad pro 2020 display

Black Friday Week Kicks Off With Up to $150 Savings on 2020 iPad Pro

Sunday November 22, 2020 2:37 pm PST by
As we head into Black Friday week, we're seeing some of the best deals of the season so far, with Amazon and Best Buy today discounting the latest iPad Pro models by up to $150 at the lowest prices we've ever tracked on these models. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep ...
macos big sur m1 macs restore issue

Apple Provides Instructions to Fix macOS Reinstallation Errors on M1 Macs

Sunday November 22, 2020 3:30 pm PST by
Shortly after the launch of Apple's new M1 Macs, we saw reports that attempts to restore and reinstall macOS on those machines right away could result in an installation error that would leave your Mac non-functional. Specifically, the error message would read: "An error occurred preparing the update. Failed to personalize the software update. Please try again." Over the weekend, Apple p...
iPhone 6s main

Rumor Claims iOS 15 to Drop Support for iPhone 6s and Original iPhone SE

Sunday November 22, 2020 9:25 am PST by
Apple will drop support for the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus in next year's release of iOS 15, according to a rumor shared today by Israeli site The Verifier. If the rumor is accurate, that would mean iOS 15 will be compatible with the following Apple devices: 2021 iPhone series iPhone 12 Pro Max iPhone 12 Pro iPhone 12 mini iPhone 12 iPhone 11 iPhone 11 Pro iPhone 11 Pro ...
new m1 chip

Craig Federighi: Native Windows on M1 Macs is 'Really up to Microsoft'

Friday November 20, 2020 11:57 am PST by
Following the release of the M1 Macs Apple executives have been doing interviews with a range of publications, and today, Ars Technica published another interview with software engineering chief Craig Federighi, hardware technologies lead Johny Srouji, and marketing VP Greg Joswiak. Much of the interview focuses on topics that the three have already covered in prior discussions, but there is ...
Walmart November Deals Hero

Black Friday Spotlight: Walmart Will Have AirPods Pro Down to Lowest Price of $169, and More Apple Deals

Thursday November 19, 2020 8:05 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Walmart. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Next ...
xlK6MS4MLqVFaskl

iFixit Shares iPhone 12 Pro Max Teardown Revealing L-Shaped Battery and Bigger Camera Module

Sunday November 22, 2020 2:53 am PST by
In the last of its iPhone 12 series teardowns, iFixit has published its iPhone 12 Pro Max disassembly, which reveals some unique differences in the design of the internals, including the full extent of the larger camera system responsible for the improved low-light performance on Apple's largest iPhone to date. On opening the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the first obvious difference compared to the...
apple leather sleeve

Leather Sleeve for iPhone 12 Models Now Available From Apple

Friday November 20, 2020 12:16 pm PST by
Apple today began selling the Leather Sleeve for the new iPhone 12 models, with the accessory having first been announced alongside the updated iPhones in October. Priced at $129, the Leather Sleeve is not a case and is designed to be removed when the iPhone is in use. It features a cutout at the front that displays the time, and it comes with a matching leather strap. According to Apple, it ...