While it is no secret that the rumored larger-screen iPhone 6 models are highly anticipated by many Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) users that have been holding out for a screen size upgrade, at least one research firm believes that the devices will likely achieve an all-time quarterly sales record. According to Taiwan-based market research firm Topology Research Institute, Apple will sell as many as 80 million iPhone 6 units in 2014 alone, reports the Economic Daily News via GforGames.
It should be noted that, based on insider source information cited by multiple media outlets, as well as several LCD backlight component leaks, most industry watchers believe that the upcoming iPhone 6 will be launched in two larger screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. Apple is widely expected to release its iPhone 6 models sometime in September and some sources, such as China’s Tencent Digital News, have even claimed that September 19 will be the specific launch date.
Assuming that Topology Research Institute’s sales estimate of 80 million iPhone 6 units is correct; Apple would have to sell 20 million units per month through the end of 2014 in order to achieve that number. That would include selling 20 million units during the abbreviated launch month of September. If Apple is able to sell the remaining 60 million units during the last three months of 2014, it would set a new iPhone sales record for the Cupertino-based company. The most iPhones that Apple has ever sold in a quarter was 51 million units during the fourth quarter of 2013. However, this year’s fourth quarter sales numbers could go even higher if a greater percentage of the overall sales occur during the three months following the devices’ expected release in September.
Although this would be an unprecedented number of iPhones for Apple to sell, there are several factors that suggest it is quite possible. Apple’s larger-screen iPhones will likely attract new customers who prefer a bigger smartphone, as well as entice more current iPhone owners to upgrade. Market research suggests that Apple’s iPhone would benefit from an increase in screen size. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model will have a screen size that is closer to the current industry average of five inches, according to research done by Medium’s Alex Barredo. On the other hand, the 5.5-inch model will provide an option for Apple users that want a phablet-sized device.
The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 model will also likely boost Apple’s iPhone sales in Asian countries where phone/tablet hybrids have proven especially popular. According to market research firm Canalys, smartphones with screens that are five inches or larger accounted for 43 percent of total smartphone shipments in the Asia Pacific region and 39 percent of shipments in Greater China during the first quarter of 2014. Canalys also noted that a third of all smartphones shipped in the March quarter of this year had screens that were five inches or larger.
Although there is no question that phablets are an increasingly important smartphone market niche, Topology Research Institute’s analysts believe that the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model will far outsell the 5.5-inch model. According to TRI’s projections, Apple will sell approximately 70 million 4.7-inch iPhone 6 units and 8 to 10 million 5.5-inch model units, reports the Economic Daily News. Besides the widely rumored screen size upgrades, Apple’s next-generation iPhones are also expected to feature a faster A8 processor, an improved camera, and a longer battery life.
Meanwhile, it appears that Apple’s suppliers are ramping up for an unusually large production run. According to industry sources cited by Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, Applesupplier Hon Hai Precision Industry – also known as Foxconn – is boosting the overall size of its workforce by 10 percent by hiring 100,000 new workers in preparation for the mass production of the iPhone 6. Apple supplier Pegatron has similarly embarked on a major hiring spree.
While seasonal hiring sprees are not unusual at Apple’s overseas suppliers, the size of the current recruitment drives at both suppliers suggests that Apple is anticipating significant iPhone 6 sales numbers. As noted by the Economic Daily News’ sources, the large-screen iPhone 6 models are expected to drive shipments that “far exceed the iPhone 5 series.” While it remains to be seen if Apple will achieve a new quarterly sales record with the iPhone 6, the increasing consumer excitement over the screen size boost and the unprecedented production ramp up suggests that a record-breaking quarter is a real possibility this year.
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