Ming-Chi Kuo

Ming-Chi Kuo is an analyst at TF International Securities, a financial services group in the Asia-Pacific region. He gathers intelligence from his contacts in Apple's Asian supply chain, translating the information he gleans into research notes for clients.

His research notes often provide a solid look at Apple's future plans and while he is not always correct, his predictions on future Apple products are accurate enough to make him one of the most reliable sources for Apple rumors. Kuo previously worked for KGI Securities, Concord Securities, and DigiTimes.

'Ming-Chi Kuo' Articles

Kuo: Apple Has Opportunity With iPhone XR in China as Chinese Rivals Face 'Lower Than Expected' Demand

In a research note obtained by MacRumors, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said cumulative smartphone shipments from four major brands on the Chinese market, including Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, declined 10 percent on a year-over-year basis during China's Golden Week, a national holiday and major sales period. iPhone XR in (PRODUCT)RED Kuo, writing on behalf of research firm TF International Securities, said the estimated 6.5-7 million shipments during Golden Week were "lower than expected." He called Huawei the "major winner" as the only brand with a year-over-year increase in shipments during the October 1-7 holiday. The well-known analyst attributed the year-over-year decline to a lack of innovative selling points among Chinese-brand smartphones. Kuo is positive on the trends of triple-lens cameras and fingerprint sensors under the display in smartphones, but said only limited models currently support both functions. Kuo also cautioned that the US-China trade war "may be affecting consumer confidence, which makes the replacement cycle longer." A third reason is that some consumers—particularly existing iPhone owners—will opt for more affordable legacy iPhone models or wait for the iPhone XR, according to Kuo, who expects replacement demands for the iPhone XR in China will be better than last year's demand for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Extrapolating from Golden Week, Kuo said smartphone shipments in China in 2018 as a whole may be "lower than expected." He estimates shipments may decline 10-15 percent to 410 million units on a year-over-year basis.

Kuo: iPhone XS Max Significantly Outselling iPhone XS, 256GB Most Popular, 512GB Subject to Serious Shortage

In a research note obtained by MacRumors today, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has provided launch-weekend takeaways for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and Apple Watch Series 4, all of which went on sale Friday. Kuo says that iPhone XS Max demand is "better than expected," with the 6.5-inch model outselling the iPhone XS by three to four times. He says the 256GB storage option is most popular, with the 512GB configuration subject to a "serious shortage" due to Samsung being the only reliable supplier.We have determined that the demand for XS Max is better than expected (3–4 times that of XS). The gold and space-grey colors are significantly more popular than the silver. 256GB is the most popular, and 512GB is subject to a serious shortage because only Samsung can currently ship NAND Flash well. We are positive that XS Max shipments will grow steadily in 4Q18 thanks to demand from Asia market and the gift season.The well-known analyst believes Apple Watch Series 4 demand is "much better than expected," with supplies likely to remain tight until Compal begins mass production starting from November, as a secondary supplier alongside Quanta.Apple Watch Series 4 demand is much better than expected. The capacity of the assembler Quanta is full already; therefore, the supply cannot improve significantly until second supplier Compal's mass production for Apple Watch Series 4 starting from November. We have increased the Apple Watch shipment forecast in 2018 from 18mn to 18.5–19.5mn units.Kuo believes the iPhone XR will be a hot seller, with more customers upgrading to that model

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 4 Pre-Orders Above Expectations, iPhone XS Seeing Lackluster Demand

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, outlining his opinions about first-weekend pre-orders for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and Apple Watch Series 4. Kuo says Apple Watch Series 4 pre-orders have been "better than expected," as a result of new innovative functions, such as electrocardiogram support. He predicts Apple Watch shipments will reach 18 million units in 2018, with the Series 4 lineup accounting for 50 to 55 percent of those orders. If the ECG support expands to more countries, Kuo believes the Series 4 lineup could see even stronger shipment momentum. In contrast, Kuo says iPhone XS pre-orders are "lower-than-expected," as customers opt for the iPhone XS Max or wait for the iPhone XR. Kuo has lowered his forecast for iPhone XS orders, believing the model will account for only 10 to 15 percent of shipments of the new 2018 iPhones, down from 15 to 20 percent. Kuo says iPhone XS Max pre-orders have been in line with expectations, signifying the success of Apple's high-pricing strategy:There is strong Chinese demand thanks to the gold casing, dual-SIM, and large display. The XS Max average shipping time is shorter than the 2H17 iPhone X (1–2 weeks vs. 2–3 weeks), which we think is due to supply improvements. We maintain our forecasts that the XS Max will account for 25–30% of 2H18 new iPhone model shipments.Kuo sees a positive outlook for the iPhone XR, available to pre-order October 19, given its lower pricing and dual-SIM support in China. The well-known analyst increased his forecast for iPhone XR

Kuo: 2019 iPhones Unlikely to Feature Time-of-Flight 3D Sensor in Rear Camera

Looking ahead to next year, Ming-Chi Kuo believes that contrary to some analysts' expectations, Apple is unlikely to integrate a time-of-flight (ToF) depth sensing system in the rear camera of its 2019 iPhones. Reports of Apple including rear-facing 3D sensing capabilities in its 2019 iPhone lineup first began appearing last year. At the time, Apple was said to be evaluating a ToF approach, which is different from the one it currently uses in the TrueDepth sensor system on the front of the iPhone X. TrueDepth relies on a structured-light technique that projects a pattern of 30,000 laser dots onto a user's face and measures the distortion to generate an accurate 3D image for authentication. By contrast, ToF calculates the time it takes for a laser to bounce off surrounding objects to create a 3D image of the environment. However, in a note to investors this morning, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that the company would not use a rear-side application of ToF technology in next year's smartphone lineup for two reasons. First, the distance and depth information provided by rear-side ToF is currently insufficient for creating the "revolutionary AR experience" that Apple ultimately wants to develop. Kuo believes that in addition to camera distance/depth data, the complete AR ecosystem Apple is aiming for requires 5G connectivity, augmented-reality glasses, and a "more powerful Apple Map database," which is presumably a reference to Apple's efforts to enhance Maps with augmented reality features. Second, the addition of rear-side ToF would do little to

Kuo: USB-C on 2018 iPad Pro, Touch ID on 2018 MacBook, EKG and Ceramic Backs on All Apple Watch Series 4 Models, More

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new research note today, obtained by MacRumors, that outlines several predictions about Apple's upcoming products, including new iPhone, iPad Pro, Apple Watch, and MacBook models. Kuo expects Apple to replace Lightning with a USB-C interface on 2018 iPad Pro models, with an 18W power adapter in the box. That sure sounds like the next iPad Pro will have a USB-C port, instead of a Lightning connector, but to play devil's advocate, there's a chance he is just referring to a USB-C charger.In addition to Face ID support, we expect the new iPad Pro models' main upgrade to include replacing Lightning with a USB-C interface and bundling with a new unibody design 18W power adapter, which cancels the removable plug design…Kuo adds that 2018 iPhone models will retain the Lightning connector and remain bundled with a 5W power adapter, not the widely rumored 18W power adapter with a USB-C port, which could be for 2018 iPad Pro models after all. His research note with TF International Securities adds that Apple's widely anticipated lower-priced MacBook may replace the current 12-inch MacBook. Again, the wording is somewhat ambiguous, so it's unclear if Kuo means the 12-inch MacBook will be refreshed, or if it will be entirely replaced. Kuo expects the new lower-priced MacBook to support Touch ID fingerprint authentication, but without a full-out Touch Bar, which remains exclusive to select 13- and 15-inch models of the 2016 and later MacBook Pro:The new low-price MacBook may replace the position of the current 12" MacBook. We expect

Apple's 2019 iPhones Won't Adopt Fingerprint on Display Technology

Apple doesn't plan to return to fingerprint recognition for biometric authentication features with its 2019 iPhone lineup, according to a new note to investors shared this morning by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo does not expect Apple's 2019 iPhones to support fingerprint on display technology, which would allow the iPhone to read a fingerprint through its display, doing away with the need for a physical Home button. Instead, Apple is likely to continue to use the TrueDepth Camera System for Face ID as a biometric authentication method in the iPhone and other devices. According to Kuo, Android manufacturers are keen to adopt fingerprint on display technology as a way to differentiate their devices from the iPhone.All main Android brands currently treat FOD as the important function to differentiate themselves from iPhone (we expect 2H19 iPhone models will not support FOD). The reasons are as follows: (1) The user feedback on the iPhone is lower than expected. (2) The user feedback on the first FOD smartphone, Vivo's X21 FOD version, is higher than expected, and (3) FOD is the best fingerprint recognition solution for the full-screen design which is necessary for a high-end smartphone.Kuo last year said that Android manufacturers were several years away from matching the iPhone's advanced Face ID technology. Companies like Samsung have adopted facial recognition, but not a secure 3D version like Apple has implemented, which is likely another reason Android manufacturers are focusing on fingerprint on display technology. Over the course of the next year,

Samsung Expected to Match 2018 iPhone Sizes With Galaxy S10 Lineup

Apple is widely rumored to introduce a trio of new iPhones in September, including a second-generation 5.8-inch iPhone X, a larger 6.46-inch version dubbed iPhone X Plus, and a 6.1-inch model with only some iPhone X features. Galaxy S9 Perhaps inspired by those plans, respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that Samsung will follow suit with its Galaxy S10 lineup next year, including 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.4-inch models. Kuo outlined his predictions in his latest research note with TF International Securities, seen by Business Insider. Kuo notes that the 6.1-inch and 6.4-inch models will be equipped with an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner built into the display, a feature that Apple decided against on the iPhone X. The technology will also be built into the Galaxy Note 10 later in 2019, according to his research note. Kuo's prediction will surely reignite a long-standing debate about Samsung copying Apple, just weeks after the two companies settled a seven-year-long lawsuit in which Samsung was found guilty of copying the iPhone's design. Korean website The Bell previously reported that one of the Galaxy S10 models will be a lower-cost option, in line with the rumored 6.1-inch iPhone, which is expected to have some iPhone X features like Face ID, and an edge-to-edge display with a notch, but lack others, like an OLED display. The lower-cost Galaxy S10 will also have tradeoffs, such as a fingerprint scanner built into the edge of the device, according to Kuo. The Bell also said the Galaxy S10+ will feature five camera lenses: three on the back, and two on

Ming-Chi Kuo Says 2018 iPhone Lineup Will Have New Colors, Including Gold, Red, Blue, and Orange

Apple is widely rumored to release a trio of new iPhones in 2018, including a second-generation iPhone X, a larger 6.5-inch version dubbed the iPhone X Plus, and an all-new 6.1-inch model with some iPhone X features, but not all, at a lower price point of around $600 to $700 in the United States. While the current iPhone X is limited to Space Gray and Silver, well-connected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes at least two of the new iPhone models in the 2018 lineup will be available in additional colors. In a research note with TF Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said the second-generation iPhone X will be available in Black, White, and Gold, while the 6.1-inch model is said to come in a wide array of colors, including red, blue, orange, gray, and white. An excerpt from the note follows.We expect the demands for the new 6.5" OLED iPhone will be better than iPhone X because of similar or lower price but with larger display, dual-sim dual-standby (DSDS), and three possible casing colors (black, white, and gold). The new 6.1" LCD iPhone is expected to boost better-replacement demands than iPhone 8/8s did due to being equipped with full-screen, Face ID, selling price lower than $700 USD, DSDS and five possible casing colors (grey, white, blue, red, and orange).The current iPhone X was already expected to come in gold, but Kuo previously said Apple faced manufacturing challenges with the color, likely related to difficulties anodizing the stainless steel frame to be gold. We know that Apple did at least prototype a gold iPhone X, as seen in regulatory photos

Kuo Details 2018, 2019 iPhones, Expects Cheaper MacBook Air, Face ID iPads, and Larger-Screen Apple Watches Later This Year

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who now works at research firm TF International Securities, has issued a new research note today with a wealth of information about Apple's upcoming products and the company's overall outlook. Highlights from the research note, obtained by MacRumors:Kuo believes 2019 iPhones will have "marked innovations," but notes it could take until September or October of this year at the earliest until the exact designs and features become clearer. Nevertheless, among new iPhones introduced in 2019, Kuo expects shipments of LCD-based models to outpace models with OLED displays. He also notes that, if any 2019 iPhones have triple-lens rear cameras, it would unsurprisingly benefit camera-related companies in Apple's supply chain. In the second half of 2018, Kuo still expects the releases of new iPad models equipped with Face ID, a new lower-price MacBook Air, and new Apple Watch models equipped with larger displays. Kuo also still expects three new iPhones in 2018: a second-generation iPhone X, a larger 6.5-inch version dubbed the iPhone X Plus, and a 6.1-inch version that will essentially be a budget iPhone X. Kuo expects the 6.1-inch iPhone to be available in stores in September of this year, despite entering mass production later than the second-generation iPhone X and so-called iPhone X Plus. This means all three new iPhones in 2018 will be both announced and released in September. Kuo believes the 6.1-inch iPhone will incentivize customers with older iPhones to upgrade due to it being equipped with similar features as the iPhone X and at a more

Ming-Chi Kuo Returns With 2018 iPhone Details: Lower Pricing, September Launch for All Models

Well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has returned today with his first Apple-related research note for his new firm TF International Securities. According to Kuo, Apple's pricing strategy will be "more aggressive" for the three iPhones rumored for September 2018, an effort to boost shipments of the models this year. Renders of the 2018 iPhones One of the main reasons Kuo says is behind the aggressive pricing strategy is Apple's "concern over the negative impact of a higher price" for its 2018 iPhones. Last year, the company received some blowback on the top-tier pricing of its iPhone X, which began at $999 in the United States for 64GB. Now, Kuo states that the 6.5-inch OLED "iPhone X Plus" will be $900-$1,000, the second generation OLED iPhone X will be $800-$900, and the new 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will be $600-$700. Kuo reiterates that all 2018 iPhones will have a full-screen design and Face ID. The analyst also outlined more reasons behind Apple's new pricing strategy: We forecast that Apple will adopt a more aggressive price policy for the following reasons: (1) concern over the negative impact of a higher price in a mature smartphone market on selling momentum, (2) improved cost structure, which is mainly attributed to assembly yield improvements of end product & 3D sensing and cost reduction of components, and (3) increasing users of Face ID benefiting the promotion of the Apple service and ecosystem. Secondly, Kuo believes that Apple will announce all three new iPhone models at an event in September. Furthermore, all three iPhones will launch in September,

Ming-Chi Kuo May Lessen Focus on Apple Following Reported Departure From KGI Securities

Ming-Chi Kuo, widely considered to be one of the best analysts covering Apple, might no longer focus his research on the iPhone maker. Kuo speaking on behalf of DigiTimes China Times reports that Kuo resigned from Taiwanese research firm KGI Securities on Friday and, while his next move is uncertain, the publication suggests he will focus less on Apple and more on other emerging industries. Kuo has been one of the most prolific sources of rumors about Apple's unreleased products and services since as early as 2010, when he was a senior analyst at industry publication DigiTimes. He briefly covered Apple for Concord Securities in 2011, before moving to KGI Securities in early 2012. Congratulations to Ming Chi-Kuo (the best analyst covering Apple) who is leaving KGI for another firm, and reportedly moving on to cover innovative non-Apple companies. https://t.co/m55yUVQSGG— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) April 30, 2018 Kuo's research notes typically relayed information gathered from Apple's supply chain partners in Taiwan and other Asian countries. This information frequently allowed Kuo to accurately predict upcoming products on Apple's roadmap, although specific details and release dates were occasionally inaccurate. While he doesn't have a perfect track record, our archive of Kuo's research notes reveals several high-profile rumors that proved to be accurate. In March 2016, nearly two years prior to the iPhone X, for example, he said Apple was developing a new iPhone with a 5.8-inch OLED display, glass back, and metal frame. Later in 2016, he shared a laundry

Kuo Again Predicts No 3D Touch for 2018 6.1-Inch LCD iPhone

Apple's upcoming 6.1-inch LCD iPhone may not feature 3D Touch due to cost constraints, according to a new note shared yesterday by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and published by Chinese site Feng. Kuo says that the 6.1-inch iPhone will use what he calls "Cover Glass Sensor" (CGS) technology, relocating the iPhone's touch module from the display panel (in-cell technology) to the surface glass. The CGS method reportedly results in a display that's lighter and more shock resistant. With this display technology, Apple will add a thin-film sensor to the touch film sensor included in the CGS, but the purpose of the new layer is unknown. It will, however, result in a 15 percent increase in the cost of the touch panel, resulting in a higher purchase price of $23 to $26. To offset the cost of the new display it plans to use, Kuo believes Apple will remove the 3D Touch functionality on the 6.1-inch iPhone, which would be a curious move as 3D Touch is well-integrated throughout the operating system that runs on the iPhone at this point. The other two iPhone models Apple is expected to release in 2018, the 5.8-inch OLED iPhone X successor and the 6.5-inch OLED device that can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus," will continue to offer 3D Touch functionality. Because Apple plans to incorporate the CGS display technology into future iPhones, including OLED models starting in 2019, 3D Touch could potentially be removed from all future iPhones. It's not clear what the mystery thin-film sensor mentioned in Kuo's note will do, but it could be some kind of 3D Touch

Ming-Chi Kuo Says Apple Considering Lower-Priced HomePod After Potentially Lackluster Sales

HomePod shipments "could be far below market expectations" this year, according to reputable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. "Our understanding is that the market expects HomePod shipments to arrive at 5-10 million units in the 2018 fiscal year, versus our forecast of only 2.0-2.5 million units," wrote Kuo, in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo believes the "major miss" in HomePod shipments could be attributable to the speaker's design and pricing, among other factors. For starters, at $349, he said the HomePod's high price "could undermine demand despite excellent sound quality." He added that Siri provides an "uninspiring user experience" compared to competitors, presumably including the Amazon Echo with Alexa and the Google Home with Google Assistant. Kuo said the HomePod's potentially lackluster sales highlights "underlying concerns" in Apple's development of artificial intelligence.It's been six years since Apple introduced Siri to the market, which was way ahead of the firm's major competitors. The massive population of iOS and macOS users is also conducive to the promotion of the voice assistant function. However, we note that for most users worldwide, Siri is not a must-have function, and Apple has not yet become a leading brand in the AI voice assistant market. We also note that HomePod has not added support for new languages in the device since launch, suggesting Apple is facing challenges in AI/voice assistant development spanning the globe; this will cap the shipments momentum of HomePod.The oft-accurate analyst said Apple is

Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple's Biggest Challenge to Innovation in Recent Years Has Been Software

Apple's "biggest challenge in innovation in recent years has been in software, not hardware," according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. "In several cases we have seen Apple lagging in software versus hardware development, which bodes badly for its innovation strategy of software and hardware integration," wrote Kuo, in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo's sole example is that Apple's first-mover advantage in augmented reality has been "significantly narrowed" by Chinese smartphone maker OPPO. He believes that OPPO has caught up with Apple's ARKit platform in only six to nine months, largely based on the fact that the augmented reality version of Honour of Kings will be compatible with not only iPhones but also OPPO's lower-priced smartphones when it launches next month, despite high-tech requirements. "The key is that OPPO is in charge of developing API, integrating hardware and software, and cooperating with SenseTime's algorithm and Tencent's game software development team," said Kuo, referring to the two Chinese companies that developed Honour of Kings, estimated to have over 200 million players, mainly in China. Kuo adds that, since the debut of ARKit at WWDC 2017, there has been no "heavyweight" augmented reality app for iPhones and iPads.We think Apple's endeavors in the AR field should have enabled it to offer AR applications popular with the market before the Android camp, including: (1) the announcement of ARKit, an AR development tool, ahead of Google; (2) customization of the SoC (including CPU and GPU); and (3) customization of

Apple Watch Series 4 to Feature Redesign, Longer Battery Life and 15% Larger Display

Apple Watch Series 4 models set to be released this fall will feature a new design and a display that's 15 percent larger, according to predictions shared by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a new note that was sent out to investors this morning (via 9to5Mac). In addition to a new design with larger displays, the new fourth-generation Apple Watch models will feature a longer battery life enabled through more battery capacity and improved health monitoring capabilities. The display size of the watch could increase due to smaller bezels, and it's not quite clear what impact a larger display would have on physical device size. The Apple Watch's design has remained unchanged since the first-generation Apple Watch was introduced in 2015, so a redesign three years later in 2018 would make sense. Kuo also does not go into detail about what new health monitoring capabilities the fourth-generation Apple Watch might offer. Rumors have suggested Apple is exploring a sensor that would allow for continuous electrocardiograph monitoring to better detect serious heart conditions. Apple is also pursuing a method for non-invasively monitoring blood glucose levels, but that technology seems to be a bit away and may not make it into a 2018 Apple Watch update. Ming-Chi Kuo often shares accurate predictions about Apple's plans, so it's likely we can expect to see some kind of Apple Watch redesign this year. We'll be hearing more about Apple's plans as the watch's likely September release date gets

New Low-Cost 9.7-Inch iPad May Support Apple Pencil

Apple's new low-cost 9.7-inch iPad may include support for the Apple Pencil, according to a new note to investors shared this morning by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo says that he expects Apple Pencil shipments will rise to 9 to 10 million units in 2018 "given that the new low-cost iPad may support Apple Pencil." Kuo says Apple may add Apple Pencil support in order to differentiate the low-cost iPad from competing low-cost Android tablets. Strong demand for low-price 9.7-inch iPad in 2017. iPad shipments hit 43.8mn units in 2017, well above the 35mn units forecast by the market at the beginning of the year. The primary driver was the low-price 9.7-inch model, whose selling points are competitive pricing and a significantly larger panel than those of six- to seven-inch smartphones (iPad mini was a flop because it was replaced by large-screen smartphones). In a bid to strengthen its selling points and to differentiate it more from low-price Android tablets, the new low-price 9.7-inch iPad (starting mass production in 2Q18) will likely support Apple Pencil.There have been no previous rumors suggesting the low-cost iPad will include Apple Pencil support, but there was speculation that it could based on the design of the event invite that Apple sent out to members of the media. The invitation includes an Apple logo that's clearly been drawn using the Apple Pencil, which led people to think that the low-cost education-focused iPad might support Apple Pencil. It's not clear if Apple will offer schools the existing Apple Pencil or introduce a new, more

KGI: Samsung to Cancel Under-Display Fingerprint Sensor Plans for This Year's Galaxy Note 9

Samsung is unlikely to introduce an under-display fingerprint recognition feature in its 2018 flagship smartphone line-up, according to KGI Securities research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo had earlier predicted that the South Korean firm was planning to debut an under-screen fingerprint sensor in its Galaxy Note 9, due for release in the third quarter of this year, but Kuo now believes Samsung will cancel the feature because of technical issues. The following quote is taken from a KGI research note obtained by MacRumors and has been edited for clarity. While we previously predicted that Samsung's new flagship Galaxy Note 9, due out in 3Q18, will come equipped with an under-display fingerprint recognition function, we now believe Samsung will cancel this feature on Note 9 because both ultrasonic (provided by Qualcomm) and optical (provided by Samsung LSI, Goodix, Egis, and Synaptics) solutions cannot meet Samsung's technical requirements. According to Kuo's understanding of the technologies involved, under-display fingerprint solutions continue to have many technical issues surrounding the use of screen protectors as well as different environments affecting recognition rates and power consumption. Previous reports suggested Samsung decided not to include a fingerprint scanner under the display of the recently launched Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ smartphones due to similar technical difficulties. The fingerprint scanner remains positioned on the back of each device, just like the previous Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ models. However, despite the ongoing problems, KGI remains

KGI: Apple to Launch Cheaper MacBook Air in 2Q 2018

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new research report encouraging investors to keep their eyes on three products for 2018: the rumored 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, AirPods, and a "more affordable MacBook Air." The first two in that list have been widely discussed in recent weeks and months, but this is the first we've heard about an update to the MacBook Air. We expect Apple (US) to roll out the new MacBook Air with a lower price tag in 2Q18. We forecast total shipments of MacBook models will grow 10-15% YoY in 2018 (vs. 0-5% YoY decline for the NB industry), up from 15.5-16mn units in 2017. While Quanta, Radiant, Catcher and SZS are likely to benefit from strong shipments momentum, SZS also stands to benefit from increased market share and a higher ASP.Kuo doesn't offer any details on what to expect in an updated MacBook Air beyond a lower price tag, but the current models are certainly outdated as they haven't had any substantial updates in three years. Since that time, Apple has cut back on available models including a complete discontinuation of the 11-inch model. The only recent upgrade to the 13-inch model has been a bump to the base processor option last June, but it's still a Broadwell chip from the 2014–15 timeframe. Aside from obvious internal upgrades like processors and graphics, another area that could see improvement is the display, as the MacBook Air currently offers a 1440 x 900 non-Retina display. We'll likely also see some USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 upgrades and perhaps an overall redesign given the age of the current design. Kuo's claim of a

KGI: Apple Developing High-End Over-Ear Headphones, Launching Late 2018 at the Earliest

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new research note outlining his expectations for Apple's "acoustic accessories" pipeline, claiming the company is working on both updated AirPods and "own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones" with an "all-new design." The new over-ear headphones are said to debut in the fourth quarter of this year at the earliest.Apple to have own-brand, high-end over-ear headphones with all-new design; to be as convenient as AirPods with better sound quality; shipments to begin 4Q18F at earliest; Primax & SZS will be the key suppliers & will benefit from high ASPs. We believe that after AirPods and HomePod, Apple’s next addition will be high-end over-ear headphones, making its acoustic accessory lineup more complete. Existing suppliers Primax and SZS will be Apple’s partners on this new product. Primax will receive assembly orders on its familiarity with the acoustic business, and SZS is likely to use MIM technology advantages as leverage to become the exclusive or main MIM part supplier. The new headphones will be priced higher than AirPods and should help boost the business momentum of Primax as the assembly provider. Beats Studio3 Wireless and current AirPods Kuo's prediction on upgraded AirPods follows a similar report just a few days ago from Bloomberg. Kuo says the new AirPods should launch in the second half of this year.We think the main difference of the upgraded AirPods, which won’t look much different from current AirPods, will be the wireless charging case and the adoption of an upgraded W1 chip. We believe that the

KGI: Apple Could Ship 100 Million Units of New 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, Replacing iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in 2018 Device Line-up

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today shared shipment projections with MacRumors for Apple's rumored 6.1-inch iPhone that he expects to launch in the second half of 2018. The device is said to have some iPhone X features such as Face ID, but design compromises will enable Apple to put it at a more affordable price point. They could include an LCD screen instead of an OLED display, an aluminum frame, a single lens camera, and no 3D Touch. We project shipments under the new product life cycle (4Q18-3Q19) for the 6.1" LCD iPhone, estimated to be launched in 2H18, will reach around 100mn units. According to Kuo's research note, shipment projections could fluctuate depending on the selling price of the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, which Kuo believes will be somewhere between $700 and $800 in the United States. In his analysis, shipments will be around 105-115 million units when priced at US$699, and 95-105 million units when priced at US$799. The price could also depend on "whether Apple ultimately sees the new 6.1-inch LCD model as the successor of iPhone 8 or 8 Plus," according to Kuo. In a previous note, KGI Securities has said the 6.1-inch iPhone will have a standard non-stacked logic board and rectangular battery pack like the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Kuo expects the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone to account for around 50 percent of the new iPhone line-up's shipments, with sales remaining strong into 2019. On that basis, today's shipping estimate suggests lifetime sales of 2018 iPhones could reach approximately 200 million units. The device is expected to be