iPhone 8 Sees 'Better Than Expected' Sales as iPhone X's Super Cycle Pushed to 2018: Ming-Chi Kuo

When Apple begins shipping the iPhone X next month, the handset is expected to be in limited quantity, KGI Securities’ analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note, corroborating several recent reports with similar findings. This expected long waiting period has already created a panic among customers, Kuo wrote, saying that many of them are purchasing the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus instead.

According to Kuo, iPhone 8 sales have been “better than expected,” though he didn’t really share what was the original expectation and whose expectations have been exceeded – Apple’s or Kuo’s. The response from the supply chain has been “more conservative” lately as “visibility is still low for new productions in 2018,” Kuo said, again not offering much context.

Kuo, who has an impressive track record with predicting future iPhone models, said the iPhone X won’t go into its “true super cycle” – a period when users already tied to Apple ecosystem upgrade from their existing iPhone models to the newest iPhone model – until 2018.

Apple is still struggling with production of TrueDepth camera system, as was reported by WSJ earlier this month. Analyst Kuo said the company will only be able to “significantly address” the issues in 2018. Kuo also noted that the new iPhone models launched in 2018 will enjoy a longer sales period than those unveiled this year, as next year’s lineup will retain many of iPhone X’s features.

He wrote in a note, “The market generally refers to 2017 as the super cycle of the iPhone, but we think the real super cycle will be in 2018 for the following reasons: (1) TrueDepth Camera’s production issues will be significantly addressed in 2018F; (2) new models launched in 2018F will enjoy a longer sales period than those unveiled in 2017; and (3) the product mix, specifications and designs of new iPhone models from 2018F will be more competitive. We estimate that for 2017, iPhone shipments will come in at 210-220mn units, which should grow to be 245-255mn units in 2018.”