Rumors continue to mount that Apple’s Sapphire glass production continues to plot along at a pace which cannot meet a heavy launch demand come September. Many are pointing towards 5.5" Sapphire production issues, which would make sense due to the overall display size, let alone the production volumes which Apple’s heavily funded supplier, GT Advanced Technologies, must produce at an ever increasing pace.
The Sapphire glass is being manufactured in a new production facility in Arizona. If it is unable to achieve output numbers sufficient to launch the a 4.7" and 5.5" iPhone in tandem, it could have a disastrous effect on the overall launch of iPhone line. The tech media is always ready to pounce on Apple if it takes a misstep, especially on such a prestigious product as the iPhone.
Apple’s current iPhone 5s flagship contains a 4" display. Apple moving to a 4.7" display is certainly big news and is likely to convert some larger screen Android users, but a 5.5" device is an absolutely stunning move by Apple, and reveals how important the phablet (phone/tablet) market is to Apple and their overall mobile share concerns.
On the eve of a 4.7" iPhone announcement, if Apple were also to announce that a 5.5" device will arrive weeks or perhaps a few months later, it will put the 4.7" iPhone 6 (AKA iPhone Air) sales at tremendous risk. Apple could stall 4.7" iPhone sales unlike any competitor could only hope to achieve. T-GAAP’s qualitative analysis reveals many consumers are highly likely to buy a 4.7" iPhone, but want to see both the 4.7" and 5.5" iPhone – first – before making a purchase decision. If our qualitative survey ends up being symptomatic of a quantitative problem, initial sales for 4.7" iPhones could be muted at best. Stalled sales would be due to hesitation in consumers waiting to compare models, quickly followed by hawkish negative media preying on the opportunity to spin the iPhone Air into a mega flop.
Apple would be wise to announce and announce, and offer, both the 4.7" and 5.5" iPhones at the same time, delivering identical launch dates in as many of the same markets as possible. 5.5" iPhones supply may initially be limited, however, if Apple can keep some 5.5" product tricking into the market, consumers can review them at retail locations, likely validating that a 4.7" iPhone is the right purchase. Those that feel the 5.5" iPhone is the right product for them, will have validated that point at the retail level, and will be fine waiting or pre-ordering. Apple should be able to hold onto sales they would otherwise lose if the 5.5" and 4.7" iPhones are launched at the same time. If Apple chooses to stagger the launch or ignore the 5.5" iPhone altogether until a later date it may very well be a huge blow to iPhone 6.
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