Ming-Chi Kuo

Ming-Chi Kuo is an analyst for KGI 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 KGI Securities 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.

'Ming-Chi Kuo' Articles

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

KGI Expects Intel to Be Exclusive Supplier of Modems in 2018 iPhones

Intel could be the exclusive supplier of LTE modems for all new iPhones launched in 2018, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The key takeaway of the research note, obtained by MacRumors:We expect Intel to be the exclusive supplier of baseband chip for 2H18 new iPhone models, while Qualcomm may not have a share of the orders at all.Kuo previously expected Intel to supply 70 percent of the modems, with Qualcomm providing the remaining 30 percent of orders, but he now believes Intel will be the sole supplier given several competitive advantages. First and foremost, Intel's latest XMM 7560 modem [PDF] supports both GSM and CDMA, meaning that Apple could release a single iPhone model that works across AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Intel modems previously lacked CDMA, meaning Apple could never fully ditch Qualcomm for all iPhone models. Apple is also embroiled in a major lawsuit with Qualcomm over anticompetitive licensing practices, and Kuo believes the iPhone maker switching to Intel as its exclusive modem supplier will place added pressure on Qualcomm. Kuo added that it's too early to tell if Intel will be able to maintain its position of exclusivity in the future, as Apple typically prefers to diversify its supply chain. He adds that Apple may give orders to Qualcomm again in exchange for concessions in the ongoing lawsuit between the two companies. Qualcomm was Apple's exclusive supplier of baseband chips until the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, when Intel began to share some of the orders. In order to make up for the lost iPhone

Ming-Chi Kuo Casts Doubt on iPhone SE 2, Expects Few Changes Should New Model Launch

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has sources within Apple's supply chain in Asia, has issued a research note today that casts doubt on rumors about a second-generation iPhone SE launching in the second quarter of 2018. Kuo believes Apple doesn't have enough spare development resources to focus on launching another iPhone, with three new models already in the pipeline, including a second-generation iPhone X with a "much different" internal design, a larger 6.5-inch version dubbed iPhone X Plus, and a lower-priced 6.1-inch iPhone with Face ID but design compromises like an LCD screen. An excerpt from the research note, obtained by MacRumors, edited slightly for clarity:The announcement of three new iPhone models in the same quarter in the second half of 2017 was the first time Apple made such a major endeavor, and we believe the delay of iPhone X, which had the most complicated design yet, shows that Apple doesn't have enough resources available for development. […] With three new models in the pipeline for the second half of 2018, we believe Apple may have used up its development resources. Also, we think the firm will do all it can to avoid repeating the mistake of a shipment delay for the three new models. As such, we believe Apple is unlikely to have enough spare resources to develop a new iPhone model for launch in 2Q18.If there really is a so-called iPhone SE 2 on Apple's roadmap, Kuo expects it will have few outward-facing changes. He predicts the device would likely have a faster processor and a lower price, rather than iPhone X-like features like

KGI Shares Latest on 6.1-Inch iPhone, Next iPhone X and iPhone X Plus to Have 4GB of RAM and Two-Cell Batteries

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often relays information gathered from sources within Apple's supply chain in Asia, today shared a trio of new research notes that outline both new and existing predictions about the new iPhone X, iPhone X Plus, and lower-priced 6.1-inch iPhone expected later this year. iPhone X Plus dummy model versus current iPhone X via Ben Geskin MacRumors obtained a copy of each research note, and we've rounded up the key points. More details are available in our 2018 iPhones roundup. All-New 6.1-inch iPhone with LCD New:• Taiwanese manufacturers Pegatron, Foxconn, and Wistron will be the key assemblers of the 6.1-inch iPhone, with 60 percent, 30 percent, and 10 percent allocation of EMS respectively • Japan Display will supply around 70 percent of LCD panels for the 6.1-inch iPhone. Rumors suggest Apple will use Japan Display's six-inch Full Active LCDs that only require ultra-slim 0.5mm bezels on all four sides Reiterated:• Nearly full screen design with no home button and notch for TrueDepth sensors • 3D sensing for Face ID and Animoji • Rectangular-shaped, one-cell battery with 2,850-2,950 mAh, up to 8.5 percent larger than current iPhone X. The increased capacity will be the result of a smaller logic board given manufacturing advancements • Lower price point: starting at between $700 and $800 in the United States The rumored 6.1-inch iPhone is shaping up to be a lower-priced iPhone X with some design compromises, which Kuo previously said will include an aluminum frame, a lack of 3D Touch, a single rather than dual lens rear

KGI: 6.1-Inch iPhone to Have Single-Lens Rear Camera, Aluminum Frame, 3GB RAM, and No 3D Touch, Cost $700-$800

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today shared additional details about the rumored 6.1-inch iPhone that he expects to launch in the second half of 2018. Note: KGI's image has a slight error. iPhone 8 Plus has 3GB of RAM. We already know the device is said to have some iPhone X features, including Face ID, but with some design compromises to achieve a cheaper price point. That will include an LCD screen, as known, and now Kuo says the device will have an aluminum frame, single-lens rear camera, and no 3D Touch. It's unclear if the back of the iPhone will also be forged from aluminum rather than glass, a tradeoff that would inhibit wireless charging. In a research note obtained by MacRumors on Tuesday, Kuo added that the 6.1-inch iPhone also won't adopt the iPhone X's stacked logic board and L-shaped battery pack. Instead, he said the device will have a standard non-stacked logic board and rectangular battery pack like the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Kuo believes the 6.1-inch iPhone will be a mid-range device priced between $700 and $800 in the United States, up from his previous $650 to $750 estimate. The device is expected to be announced around September-October as usual alongside a new 5.8-inch iPhone X and a larger 6.5-inch version dubbed iPhone X Plus. The research note reads in part:Development schedule of new 6.1" LCD iPhone slightly behind 6.5" and 5.8" OLED models, but it may enjoy extended longevity into 1H19F, boosting slow season outlook: We predict the 6.1" LCD iPhone will differ from the 6.5" and 5.8" OLED models in terms of certain specs,

KGI: Apple to Discontinue iPhone X Rather Than Sell at Lower Price When Second-Generation Model Launches

Apple will discontinue the first-generation iPhone X when the second-generation model launches later this year, rather than bump the device down its smartphone lineup for lower than $999, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who clarified his earlier prediction with a follow-up research note today. Kuo said that Apple keeping the current iPhone X in its smartphone lineup for a reduced price, such as $899, would likely cannibalize sales of the mid-range 6.1-inch iPhone with Face ID and a LCD display that he expects to launch in the second half of 2018 for between $650 and $750 in the United States. An excerpt from Kuo's research note obtained by MacRumors on Monday:iPhone X would hurt product brand value & lineup of 2H18 new models if it continues to sell at a lower price after 2H18 new models launch: Lowering iPhone X's price after the 2H18 new models launch would be a negative to product brand value given 3D sensing and OLED display are features of the new high-price model. Additionally, to sell iPhone X at a lower price may have a negative impact on shipments of the new 6.1" LCD iPhone in 2H18. Thus, we estimate iPhone X will reach end-of-life (EOL) around the middle of 2018.If accurate, Apple's smartphone lineup later in 2018 would consist of the second-generation 5.8-inch iPhone X, which will likely remain $999, a larger 6.5-inch version dubbed iPhone X Plus, and the mid-range 6.1-inch iPhone. Below that would likely be iPhone 8, iPhone 7, and iPhone SE models. Here's how Apple's new iPhone lineup could look: • iPhone SE: $349 • iPhone

KGI: Larger-Sized iPhones Coming This Year Will Offset Weakening Demand for iPhone X in China

Weaker-than-expected demand for iPhone X in China has led market analysts to revise down shipments for the first half of 2018, but larger-sized iPhone models in the pipeline should see Apple grow its overall worldwide shipments year-on-year, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who shared the information in a new research report obtained by MacRumors. We revise down 1Q18 and 2Q18 shipments of iPhone X to 18mn units and 13mn units, respectively, lower than market consensus of 20-30mn and 15-20mn units. We expect iPhone X will go to end of life (EOL) around mid-2018 and that total life cycle shipments will be around 62mn units, lower than our previous forecast of 80mn units.Two main reasons are given for the weaker-than-expected demand for iPhone X in China. First, in Q4 2017, consumers were willing to wait on average 10 months longer before replacing their existing phones, compared to shorter replacement cycles in the year-ago quarter. In Q4 2016, smartphone users upgraded after between 14 and 16 months of ownership, compared to between 24 and 26 months in Q4 2017. The numbers are said to be reflected in lower shipment forecasts by Chinese phone makers for the second half of last year. The second big factor is said to be Chinese consumers' penchant for larger displays. According to Kuo, the notched design on the iPhone X isn't yet compatible with many popular Chinese apps, leading many customers to see it as offering less usable screen space than 5.5-inch iPhone Plus models. This confusion, coupled with the high price of iPhone X, is thought to have

Apple's Upgraded TrueDepth Camera System in Future iPhones Will Necessitate Larger Batteries

iPhone models released in 2019 and later will likely feature an upgraded TrueDepth camera system that will consume more power, resulting in a need for larger-capacity batteries, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a research note obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said Apple has technologies at its disposal to develop larger-capacity batteries.Apple capable of designing new system for large-capacity batteries: We believe the adoption of TrueDepth camera for 3D sensing in 2017-18 will create demand for larger-capacity batteries. From 2019, we predict iPhone may adopt upgraded 3D-sensing and AR-related functions, and it will consume more power, further increasing demand for large-capacity batteries. We believe Apple's key technologies, including semiconductor manufacturing processes, system-in-package (SIP), and substrate-like PCB (SLP), will create the required space for larger batteries.Kuo unsurprisingly expects Apple will use these technologies to continue increasing iPhone battery capacities in 2019 and 2020, as it routinely does, which should result in even longer battery life for future models. Kuo reiterated that TrueDepth will be expanded to a trio of iPhone models next year, including a new 5.8-inch iPhone X, a larger 6.5-inch model we're calling iPhone X Plus, and a new 6.1-inch mid-range model with an LCD display, but it sounds like the facial system will remain unchanged in 2018. As far as next year is concerned, Kuo previously said the second-generation iPhone X could have a one-cell L-shaped battery that would provide up to 10 percent

Ming-Chi Kuo Expects Upgraded AirPods to Launch in Mid to Late 2018

Apple will release an upgraded version of AirPods in the second half of 2018, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. An excerpt from Kuo's latest research note, a copy of which was obtained by MacRumors:Media reports over the past few days on brisk AirPods demand and Apple struggling to keep up with holiday season demand align with our findings and positive predictions on AirPods in several previous reports. […] In 2018, we predict AirPods shipments will grow 100% YoY to 26-28mn units. We forecast the ASP of RFPCB for upgraded AirPods in 2H18 may increase, further benefiting business momentum of Unitech and Compeq.Kuo said one internal change on the second-generation AirPods will include a "smaller quartz component," but he didn't provide any further details about new outward-facing features or improvements to expect. Kuo said the new AirPods will continue to be assembled by Taiwanese manufacturer Inventec, with individual components supplied by fellow Taiwanese companies such as Unitech, Compeq, TXC, and HLJ. Apple will also be releasing a new inductive AirPods charging case that will enable the wireless earphones to be charged with its new AirPower charging mat, which it said launches at some point in 2018. Apple teased the AirPower mat at its iPhone X event back in September. It will be able to charge the Apple Watch Series 3, an iPhone X or iPhone 8 model, and AirPods inside the new charging case simultaneously. As for the current AirPods, Kuo said Apple's suppliers are unable to make them quick enough to fully satisfy what he believes

2018 iPhone X Successor Could Feature Up to 10% More Powerful Battery With New 1-Cell Design

Next year's version of the iPhone X could feature up to 10 percent more battery power if Apple and LG Chem are able to deploy a one-cell design for the device's L-shaped battery, as opposed to the two-cell battery used in the iPhone X, according to a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that was obtained by MacRumors. Kuo says the more space efficient one-cell design would allow Apple to boost battery capacity from 2716 mAh in the iPhone X to somewhere between 2900 and 3000 mAh for next year's 5.8-inch iPhone. As he previously claimed, Kuo believes Apple will release three new iPhones with TrueDepth cameras next year: a larger 6.5-inch OLED model that can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus", a 5.8-inch OLED successor to the iPhone X, and a 6.1-inch LCD model. Today's report says that Apple is likely to use a two-cell battery design in the 6.5-inch model, but the larger size of the device will still allow it to have a capacity in the range of 3300 to 3400 mAh. Two new 2H18 iPhone models could adopt L-shaped battery (6.5” & 5.8” OLED models), with capacity upgraded for all models. In order to extend battery life, we believe it is necessary to expand battery capacity because all three new 2H18 models will be equipped with TrueDepth Camera, which consumes more power. We think Apple (US) is developing a 1-cell L-shaped battery in collaboration with LGC (KR). If the new battery enters mass production on time, the 5.8” OLED iPhone model will come with a battery with larger capacity (2,900-3,000mAh with higher RFPCB ASP $2.1-2.4). For the 6.1” LCD

KGI: AirPods Shipments Will Double Next Year Given Strong Demand

AirPods will remain one of Apple's most popular accessories in 2018, with shipments likely to double to an estimated 26-28 million units on a year-over-year basis, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo said there has been strong demand for AirPods, which he views as the most important accessory in Apple's wireless ecosystem. His prediction implies AirPods shipments will total 13-14 million units in 2017. An excerpt from Kuo's latest research note with investment firm KGI Securities, a copy of which was obtained by MacRumors:We believe demand for AirPods has been strong, and note that the shipping time of the product on Apple's official shopping website has shortened to 1-3 days, mainly thanks to an improved assembly process and increased capacity from Luxshare as the new assembler […] We expect AirPods to remain one of the most popular Apple accessories in 2018, with shipments likely to rise 100% YoY to 26-28mn units next year.Chinese company Luxshare could become the main assembler of AirPods in 2018, with a higher order allocation than fellow supplier Inventec, after improving its assembly process and increasing production capacity. Apple doesn't break out AirPods sales like it does with iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Instead, it groups the wireless earphones under its "Other Products" category, alongside Apple TV, Apple Watch, Beats, iPods, and other accessories. Apple reported revenue of $3.2 billion from its "Other Products" category last quarter, up 36 percent year over year. Last month, on an earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he was

KGI: Improved iPhone X Shipping Estimates Due to Better-Than-Expected Production, Not Weak Demand

Steady improvements in iPhone X supplies that have seen shipping estimates fall to 1-2 weeks are due to better-than-expected improvements in production since the device's launch, rather than any weakness demand, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who shared the information in a new research report obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, who frequently shares accurate information from Apple's supply chain, iPhone X production issues "have been well addressed" in recent weeks, with Foxconn's production now at 450,000-550,000 units per day compared to just 50,000-150,000 a month or two ago as Apple geared up to launch the device. Two of the primary bottlenecks that contributed to tight supplies of the iPhone X have largely been resolved, according to Kuo, with Career quickly making up for lost time after Murata was unable to provide LTE antenna components as originally planned and LG Innotek and Sharp seeing improved yields for the dot projector module of the TrueDepth camera.(1) Hon Hai’s daily shipments of iPhone X have climbed to 450-550k units, up from 50-150k units 1-2 months ago; (2) shipments of Career’s LCP LTE antenna will likely grow 100% MoM in both November and December; and (3) production yield of Dot projection module, made by LG Innotek (KR) and Sharp (JP), has moved quickly above 80-90% or higher from below 60% 1-2 months ago.As a result of the improved production, Kuo believes iPhone X shipments in the fourth calendar quarter could be 10-20 percent higher than he previously estimated, with some orders previously estimated as shipping

2018 iPhones to Feature Upgraded Antenna Design to Boost LTE Transmission Speeds

Apple's upcoming 2018 iPhones will feature upgraded liquid crystal polymer (LCP) antenna modules that will contribute to faster LTE transmission speeds, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said tonight in a note that was sent out to investors. Kuo says new iPhone models will use at least two LCP LTE antenna modules, much like the iPhone X, but with improvements to support 4x4 MIMO standards. Antenna design upgrade a key factor in anticipated boost to LTE transmission speed in new 2H18F iPhone models. As a LTE antenna FPCB material, LCP is superior to PI in properties related to high-frequency, thermal performance and moisture resistance. We predict 2H18 new iPhones will be equipped with two LCP LTE antenna modules same as iPhone X or more, but with higher specs to support 4x4 MIMO standards.Last week, Kuo said Apple is expected to use Intel XMM 7560 and Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 modems in its next-generation iOS devices, enabling faster LTE transmission speeds. Both of those chips support the previously mentioned 4x4 MIMO technology, compared to 2x2 MIMO in the current iPhone models. 4x4 MIMO, or Multiple-Input Multiple-Output has the potential to significantly improve LTE transmission speeds by increasing the number of data paths between a cellular tower and an iOS device to four. In previous notes, Kuo has said Apple is working on a total of three iPhones for 2018, including a 5.8-inch OLED model that's similar to the current iPhone X, a 6.5-inch OLED model that can be thought of as a sort of "iPhone X Plus," and a new 6.1-inch LCD model, designed to sell at a

KGI: Next Year's iPhone Models to Have Upgraded Intel and Qualcomm Modems Enabling Faster LTE Speeds

Apple's next-generation iPhone models released in 2018 will feature Intel's XMM 7560 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon X20 modems, enabling faster LTE transmission speeds, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Image: KGI Securities Kuo highlighted that both new chips support 4x4 MIMO technology, compared to only 2x2 MIMO in the latest iPhone models, which leads him to believe LTE transmission speeds will increase significantly in 2018 iPhones. In his latest research note, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo predicted Intel will supply Apple with 70 to 80 percent or more of the baseband chips.New baseband chips from Intel & Qualcomm will significantly boost transmission speed of new 2H18 iPhone models thanks to supporting 4x4 MIMO antenna design: We believe that 2H18 new iPhones will upgrade baseband chips from Intel’s XMM 7480 and Qualcomm's MDM 9655 in 2H17 to Intel’s XMM 7560 and Qualcomm's SDX 20. As both new chips support 4x4 MIMO technology, compared to only 2x2 MIMO in 2H17, we anticipate LTE transmission speeds will increase significantly. We believe Intel will supply Apple with 70-80% or more of required baseband chips.Kuo also predicted that next year's iPhone models will feature dual-SIM dual standby (DSDS), with support for LTE+LTE connections, which allows two SIM cards to be active simultaneously using only one set of chips.2H18 iPhone models won't only offer faster LTE transmission speed: We predict that at least one of the 2H18 new iPhone models will support dual-SIM dual standby (DSDS). Unlike existing DSDS phones, which commonly support LTE+3G

KGI: Apple to Launch 6.5-Inch 'iPhone X Plus' and Lower-Priced 6.1-Inch Full-Screen LCD Model Next Year

Apple will launch a trio of new iPhone models in 2018, including 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch models with OLED displays and a 6.1-inch model with an LCD display, according to respected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Photo: KGI Securities Kuo believes all three models will be equipped with a full-screen notched design and TrueDepth camera system like the iPhone X. Kuo expects the 5.8-inch model to have 458 pixels per inch, suggesting the second-generation iPhone X's display will likely continue to have a resolution of 1,125×2,436. He said the 6.5-inch model will have roughly 480 to 500 PPI, while the 6.1-inch model is estimated to have between 320 and 330 PPI. In his latest research note, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said the 6.1-inch model will have a lower-resolution LCD display and target the low-end and mid-range markets with an estimated $649 to $749 starting price in the United States.Two new OLED models target high-end market; new TFT-LCD model aims at low-end & midrange markets: We believe the major hardware difference in the two new OLED models is size, in a bid to satisfy various needs of the high-end market. The new TFT-LCD model will differ significantly from the OLED models in hardware and design specs (for instance, the PPI will be lower). The primary selling points of the TFT-LCD model may be the innovative user experience of an integrated full-screen design and 3D sensing with a lower price tag (we expect it will likely be US$649-749).His research note didn't outline any pricing estimates for the next 5.8-inch iPhone X, which currently starts at $999,

iPhone 8 Production Said to Drop Significantly Given Popularity of iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X

With fewer major selling points and given a consumer preference for the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects iPhone 8 production to see a 50-60 percent sequential decline this quarter. In his latest research note for KGI Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said the lower-than-expected iPhone 8 demand could result in fewer orders for Apple supplier Pegatron, which assembles the iPhone 8 in Taiwan.Pegatron — iPhone 8 production to decline 50-60% QoQ in 1Q18F on lower-than-expected demand: With fewer major selling points and given a consumer preference for iPhone 8 Plus on a limited price gap, we expect iPhone 8 production orders to see 50-60% QoQ decline in 1Q18F, potentially shrinking Pegatron's utilization rate. But considering new iPhone orders may become more diverse (compared with a single model of iPhone 8 in 2H17), and assuming the new models will come with more compelling features than iPhone 8, we are positive on Pegatron's growth momentum in 2H18F. Just this week, research firm Canalys said the iPhone 8 Plus outpaced the iPhone 8 last quarter with shipments of 6.3 million units versus 5.4 million units respectively. Canalys said the iPhone 8 Plus is the first Plus-sized iPhone to out-ship its smaller 4.7-inch sibling in a single quarter. Apple doesn't disclose iPhone sales on a model-by-model basis, but chief executive Tim Cook said the iPhone 8 Plus has "gotten off to the fastest start of any Plus model," which came as "a bit of a surprise" to the company. Kuo remains positive about iPhone X demand, and estimates

Ming-Chi Kuo: 2018 iPhones Will Have 'More Complex' Metal Frames for Improved Cellular Signal Transmission

While the iPhone X launched just three days ago, we're already starting to hear rumors about what to expect from next year's models. Specifically, oft-reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he believes iPhones released in 2018 will feature a "more complex" metal frame design and casing assembly for the purpose of improving data transmission quality. An excerpt of Kuo's research note with KGI Securities, obtained by MacRumors:Orders for 2H18F iPhones are market focus; both Catcher and Casetek have won new orders. We believe the metal frame of 2H18F iPhone models will be composed of more parts (iPhone X has four parts) for improving data transmission quality. We believe Apple will need more metal frame and casing assembly capacity and new suppliers because of more complex metal frame design and casing assembly, while models equipped with AMOLED and stainless steel metal frame will increase to two (vs. only one — iPhone X — in 2H17). We expect Catcher will obtain stainless steel metal frame and casing assembly orders. If Casetek can pass certification in late 4Q17 or early 1Q18, it also may win aluminum metal frame and casing assembly orders.Kuo said Taiwanese suppliers Catcher Technology and Casetek have won orders from Apple for the new metal frames, including two models with stainless steel frames, which likely includes the iPhone X and so-called iPhone X Plus. Kuo has previously said that Apple will likely expand Face ID to all iPhone models in 2018, with a complete abandonment of Touch ID. He also said 2018 iPhones are unlikely to gain a rear-facing

Apple Likely to Retain iPhone X Dual-Lens Camera Design for 2018 iPhones

Apple is likely to retain the all-plastic lens system used in the iPhone X for its 2018 iPhone range, according to respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a research note for KGI Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said he disagrees with market speculation that Apple will implement a 7P (seven-lens plastic) or a 2G3P (two-glass, three plastic) lens design for the rear-facing camera modules in next year's iPhone line-up. With its rear camera specs, iPhone X has managed to strike a phenomenal balance between picture quality and form factor design, in our opinion, given how far we've come today technologically. Switching from a 6P lens to a 7P lens or a 2G3P hybrid lens, with camera module design largely similar to iPhone X's, would make for only limited improvements in aperture performance, we believe. In addition, Kuo believes that moving to a new 7P or hybrid lens design would incur unnecessary risk on the supply of iPhones in 2018, and Apple is unlikely to make any manufacturing choices that could bring about a repeat of the supply constraints related to this year's iPhone X. Should Apple retain the 6P lens design on its 2018 iPhones, Kuo thinks Apple supplier Largan can expect slightly higher market share, although its leading market position will likely remain unchanged. The company commands the world's largest lens capacity, while its prowess in design and assembly can be carried toward upgrades of future generations of 7P lens or hybrid lens. The iPhone 7 Plus was the first handset to adopt the dual-lens design, which includes a wide angle and a telephoto

Ming-Chi Kuo Says 2018 iPhones Unlikely to Have Rear-Facing TrueDepth Camera System

Apple is unlikely to expand its front-facing TrueDepth system for Face ID and Animoji to the rear-facing camera module on iPhones released in 2018, according to oft-reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a research note with KGI Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said the iPhone X's 3D sensing capabilities are already at least one year ahead of Android smartphones. For that reason, he thinks Apple's focus with next year's iPhone models will be ensuring an on-time launch with adequate supply.Based on aforementioned assumptions, we do not expect 2H18F iPhones to come with rear TrueDepth Camera/3D sensing, contrary to market expectations. While we agree that a rear TrueDepth Camera/3D sensing can potentially provide more augmented reality (AR) applications, we note that Apple needs to quickly resolve two issues if it wants 2H18F iPhones to have a rear TrueDepth Camera/3D sensing, namely: (1) the development of AI and ARKit software and an ecosystem, which takes time; and (2) achieving stable shipments and on-time shipping, which are challenging due to the higher spec requirements of rear TrueDepth camera.Even without rear TrueDepth, Kuo believes 2018 iPhone models will unsurprisingly come with other tech spec upgrades to attract consumers. He has a positive view on the prospects of the new iPhone

Ming-Chi Kuo Says iPhone X's TrueDepth Production Issues Stabilizing, Won't Affect Next Year's Models

While the iPhone X has reportedly faced production issues related to the TrueDepth camera, resulting in shipment delays, respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said supply of components for the facial recognition system is now stable. In a research note with KGI Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo added that Apple won't "repeat the mistake" of delayed production with next year's iPhone models, which he predicts will "arrive on time" under "stable supply."Apple won't repeat the mistake of supply disruption & delayed production as seen with iPhone X. We believe shipments of new 2H18F iPhones will arrive on time under stable supply in late 3Q18F. And given no major spec upgrade of TrueDepth camera on these new models, we believe Apple will continue to use the same WLO for dot projector and 4P lens of infrared camera as iPhone X. We believe the supply of both components are now stable, leaving no need to switch to other solutions.Kuo expects new iPhone models launching in the second half of 2018 to adopt the same wafer level optics for the TrueDepth system's dot projector, and the same 4P lens for the infrared camera, as the iPhone X. iPhone X pre-orders began on Friday at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time, and shipping estimates have remained at 5-6 weeks since a few hours after that