Apple’s Upcoming iPhone Event Will be ‘The Most Significant in Years,’ Analysts Say

By Adriaan Brits Monday, October 12, 2020

Apple (AAPL) is set to hold a launch event on October 13 and reveal the new iPhone lineup. The tech giant usually reveals its new iPhones in September, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year is different. Instead, Apple introduced the new Apple Watch lineup last month and delayed the iPhone launch event until October.

Closeup of Apple store.

“A Massive Event”

Analysts expect this year’s iPhone event to be massive and include the first significant exterior redesign since iPhone X was introduced in 2017. The new iPhone will have flatter sides, as opposed to the current models whose sides are curvier.

Apple will likely introduce four separate iPhone models with different screen sizes and prices, a broader choice compared to previous years.

Some of the new models are expected to support 5G cellular networks, which ensure much faster download speeds. The last iPhone model that had such a big step-up was the iPhone 6, which was introduced in two different sizes and featured bigger screens.

This gave rise to a significant upgrade cycle and more than 231 million iPhones were sold over the next four quarters. Apple registered an annual unit sales record that year.

Therefore, since this year’s event is also expected to bring significant changes, analysts and investors predicted another major upgrade cycle that will lift Apple’s valuation even further.

“We expect this fall’s launch to be the most significant iPhone event in years,” Katy Huberty, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, said in a note this week.

Huberty’s estimating Apple to sell around 220 million iPhones in its fiscal 2021, which would mark a jump of 22% year-over-year according to the bank’s model.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley expect Apple to introduce four different iPhone models on Tuesday:

  • iPhone 12 Mini, the smallest iPhone model with a 5.4-inch screen since Apple introduced full-screen iPhones in 2017.
  • iPhone 12, the standard model with a 6.1-inch screen.
  • iPhone 12 Pro, same screen size as iPhone 12 but with better specs.
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max, with the largest-ever screen size of 6.7 inches.

Morgan Stanley based those predictions on information from Apple’s supply chain of manufacturers in China. Therefore, the names of these models may be different as they’re decided by the company’s product marketing in California.

Hi Speed!

The name of the upcoming launch event is “Hi Speed,” referring to the faster cellular speeds supported by 5G smartphones. In recent years, analysts and investors expected the 5G iPhone would bring massive upgrades and boost sales not just for Apple but also for semiconductor companies such as Qualcomm, as well as mobile carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile, which placed large bets on 5G.

The source of 5G jump in speed is in the so-called “millimeter wave” or “ultrawideband.” However, many consumers don’t know that millimeter waves are supported only in certain markets in the U.S. and have limited transmission distance.

Therefore, even though mobile carriers are expanding at a rapid pace, the new 5G iPhones may be able to reach the full speed only in a couple of regions.

Telecom companies like AT&T and T-Mobile are currently promoting the “nationwide 5G,” however, they’re using the so-called low-band networks, which have speeds closer to those of 4G. This may disappoint a number of users who’ve been hoping for a significant difference in speed.

On the other hand, there’s also mid-band 5G, which is a major step-up from 4G in terms of speed and coverage, but its infrastructure isn’t complete yet. This summer, T-Mobile said it expected to complete the construction of its mid-band network “over the next few years.”

“Not all 5G is created equal, which has led to marketing noise from carriers regarding 5G performance and deployment,” Loup Ventures founder Gene Munster said last month.

“In the end, both consumers and businesses are left unsure as to the timing of the 5G transformation.”

Summary

Apple will reveal its new iPhone models at tomorrow’s launch event, which analysts expect to be “the most significant in years.” The tech giant is due to introduce four separate iPhone models with different screen sizes and prices, which are likely to start a 5G supercycle.

About the Author


Headshot for author Adriaan Brits

As an analyst of global affairs, Adriaan has an MSC from Oxford, with diverse interests in the digital economy, entertainment, and business. He is a specialist trainer in Advanced Analytics & Media.

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