Apple has released a new product again. Will consumers’ efforts to hold their wallets tightly will be successful?

  In the early morning of March 9th, Beijing time, Apple held a spring new product launch conference and released the first iPhone SE equipped with 5G functions. ".

  But at the same time, Apple has raised the price of the latest iPhone SE, raising the "starting price" by $30.

  The growing demand for chips in electronic devices, including smartphones, has also led to higher costs for Apple.

  However, some analysts pointed out that while other tech and auto companies have been delaying production after supply chain problems, Apple is bucking the trend and launching new products.

He believes that this shows that Apple can cope with unprecedented supply chain shortages around the world.

  Holding self-developed chips, as well as strong resource allocation and bargaining power, is the confidence of this "world's highest market value company".

  The "cheap mobile phone" with embarrassing market positioning

  On March 8, a domestic mobile phone shipment data released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology showed that in January this year, domestic mobile phone shipments were 33.02 million units, a year-on-year decrease of 17.7%; of which 5G mobile phone shipments were 26.32 million units. It fell 3.5% year-on-year, the lowest in nearly four months.

Since November last year, the proportion of domestic 5G mobile phones in all mobile phone shipments has experienced a slight month-on-month decline every month.

  In this context, can Apple launch the new 5G version of the iPhone SE to win major markets such as China?

Analysts are not optimistic about this.

  Zhu Jiatao, an analyst at research firm Canalys, told the First Financial Reporter: "From a global perspective, we expect the new version of the iPhone SE to be lower in shipments than the previous generation, and the price increase is one factor. Consumer appeal is waning."

  The data shows that since Apple first launched a lower-priced version of the iPhone SE model, sales of the phone in China have been relatively sluggish.

According to data provided by Canalys, the total domestic shipments of the second-generation iPhone SE models are less than 3.5 million.

  The new iPhone SE starts at $429, which is $30 more than the $399 lower-priced version of the iPhone SE launched by Apple two years ago, and is also beating analysts’ expectations.

  After Apple raised the price of the iPhone SE, research firm Strategy Analytics lowered its shipment forecast for the latest version of the iPhone SE.

Sui Qian, senior director of Strategy Analytics, told the First Financial Reporter: "We are currently lowering the iPhone SE sales target by 1 million to 23 million units from the previous 24 million units."

  She said the previous forecast was based on an expected selling price of $399.

  Sui Qian analyzed that multiple factors such as chip shortages and rising raw material procurement and transportation costs have led to the price increase of Apple's iPhones.

"Manufacturers must consider factors such as cost in order to maintain profits." She told the first financial reporter.

  Some forecasts also believe that the global sales of the third-generation iPhone SE will not exceed 30 million units.

  Zhu Jiatao told the first financial reporter: "We believe that the low-cost version of the iPhone 5G mobile phone does little to promote the overall development of 5G mobile phones."

  The starting price of the new iPhone SE starts at 3,499 yuan in China. Zhu Jiatao believes that from the perspective of shipments, mobile phones in this price range in China have completed the switch to 5G, while in foreign markets, this price range is not really true. "low price".

He said that the driving force of the global 5G mobile phone mainly depends on Samsung.

  Zhu Jiatao explained to the first financial reporter: "In China, except for thousand yuan phones, basically all are 5G mobile phones now. Manufacturers have no other choice but to push 5G mobile phones; while foreign 5G is still infiltrating, it is more difficult in terms of cost. It penetrates into the mid-to-low-end price range at once, and if you add 5G at a low price, you will have to compromise on other hardware specifications, such as screen, camera and storage capacity.”

  Mobile phone supply chain system evolves to 5G

  Many netizens said that 5G packages are too expensive to use, and they did not feel the speed advantage of 5G, and 4G is also very good.

But analysts believe that 5G is still the general trend of smartphone development.

4G still has room for survival in the low-end market below 1,000 yuan, but mobile phone manufacturers are accelerating the popularization and sinking of 5G mobile phones.

  Zhu Jiatao told the first financial reporter that from the perspective of the resources of the entire supply chain, the future development of smartphones will still evolve towards 5G, which is an inevitable trend.

  From the perspective of the supply chain system, at present, Apple has introduced BOE, a domestic screen panel company, for mobile phone screens, and other foundries include Pegatron and Luxshare Precision.

More Chinese suppliers are expected to join the iPhone SE supply chain in the future.

  At present, in the global supply chain of iPhone SE, the camera modules and lenses are mainly from Sony and Largan, the processors are manufactured by TSMC, the glass and panels are provided by Corning and LG Display (LGD), and the chip suppliers are mainly Micron and NXP. , and the assembly is mainly undertaken by Hon Hai Foxconn and Luxshare Precision.

  Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that in Apple's supply chain in the future, the time Luxshare assembles for Apple will increase significantly from 2021 to 2023, and Luxshare is also expected to assemble Apple Mac and other products in the future.

  Last week, Sumit Sadana, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of global chip giant Micron, said that 5G smartphone shipments are expected to grow strongly in 2022, while global handset shipments will continue to grow at a moderate rate.

He predicts that the global 5G smartphone shipments will be about 500 million units in 2021, and it is expected that 5G mobile phone shipments will exceed 700 million units this year.

  Shadwan said that 5G smartphones accounted for 50 percent more DRAM chips than 4G smartphones, while NAND flash accounted for double the share.

As more 5G smartphones ship this year, chip demand will also increase significantly.

  Apple CEO Cook said at the third-quarter earnings conference last year that the impact of supply constraints was greater than expected, and it is estimated that it will lead to a loss of about $6 billion for the company.

Apple also said at the time that demand for the new iPhone 13 models far exceeded its supply capacity.

  However, analysts believe that chip restrictions have little impact on Apple, on the one hand because of Apple's bargaining power, on the other hand, because the current supply constraints are mainly low-end process chips.

  Sheng Linghai, an analyst at research firm Gartner, told the First Financial Reporter: "The shortage of chips is not expected to have an impact on Apple. At present, the supply of 4G chips is mainly tight, and the supply of 5G chips is not tight. The price of 5G chips is also relatively higher. ."

  According to the Galaxy Securities Research Report, Apple is expected to drive replacement demand with the help of new models, and predicts that iPhone shipments are expected to reach 245 million units in 2022.

However, some analysts believe that the complex economic environment may limit people's desire to replace the phone.

  Chen Hang, a technology researcher at the Founder Securities Research Institute, told Yicai.com: "The huge uncertainty in the global economy limits people's purchasing power, and many people may not give priority to mobile phone upgrades."

  IDC analyst Nabila Popal (Nabila Popal) said that given the current uncertain economic situation, the new iPhone SE will still cater to consumers looking for cost-effective 5G phones.

  The iPhone 13 is still the "selling champion"

  In addition to the new iPhone SE, Apple also released two new color models of the iPhone 13 series at the spring conference. The new color system focuses on green, of which the dark green of the iPhone 13 Pro was named "Cangling Green" by Apple.

Chinese netizens also ridiculed the "green apple" iPhone 13, calling it "leek green".

  Although Apple has repeatedly raised prices for its high-end models to ensure profits in the past few years, data shows that the iPhone 13 is still the best-selling model in China.

  According to the latest statistics released by the research institute CINNO Research, in January this year, China's smartphone sales were about 30.87 million units, of which Apple's iPhone 13 series ranked first in the domestic market for four consecutive months with sales of 2.3 million units.

  Overall, in January this year, Apple's mobile phone sales were 5.1 million units, a slight decrease of 1.8% month-on-month, but an increase of 11.4% year-on-year.

In terms of total sales volume, OPPO, vivo and Honor ranked the top three in the domestic market with sales of 5.4 million, 5.2 million and 5.2 million respectively, and Apple ranked fourth.

  China is Apple's best market for iPhone sales outside of the United States, and it has contributed to Apple's staggeringly high growth performance.

Apple's first quarterly report for fiscal year 2022 released on February 1 (the company's fiscal year is from October of the previous year to September of the current year) shows that its sales in Greater China in the first quarter were US$25.78 billion, compared with 21.31 billion in the previous year. US dollar, an increase of about 21% year-on-year.

  In January, Apple’s market value topped $3 trillion for the first time.

Although the iPhone's share of Apple's revenue has fallen from 60% in fiscal 2018 to about 52% in fiscal 2021, the iPhone remains Apple's most important revenue generator.

  Brokerages believe that Apple's iPhone is still in a "super cycle".

According to previous analysis and forecasts by investment bank Wedbush, as many as 250 million iPhone users worldwide are preparing to upgrade their phones in this super cycle, which began with the release of the iPhone 12.

  The iPhone 13 released last year has a slight improvement in performance compared to the iPhone 12 model, but the price has not risen. Instead, it is lower than the iPhone 12 by 300 to 800 yuan in the Chinese market.

Counterpoint Research, a research institute, believes that there is no 5,000-yuan smartphone on the market that can pose a threat to the iPhone 13.

  StrategyAnalytics' report last year predicted that global shipments of the iPhone 13 series will exceed 90 million units in 2021.

"The iPhone is still Apple's cash cow, and its revenue is expected to account for more than half." Sui Qian told the First Financial Reporter.

  Regarding the upcoming iPhone 14 series in the second half of this year, Sui Qian believes that the iPhone 14 series may see more hardware changes.

"Apple has always taken a stable route in hardware. Generally, it will not try new technologies first, but will wait until the new technologies are more mature before adopting them." She told the First Financial Reporter.

  She also predicts that by 2023, Apple is very likely to launch the first folding screen iPhone.

"In general, Apple is innovating at its own pace," said Sui Qian.

  Author: Qian Tongxin

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