Posts Tagged ‘iphone 6 release date’

On May 23, 2014 leaked images surfaced from nowhereelse.fr of what appears to be Apple’s iPhone 6 LED backlight.Image

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The earliest leaked iPhone 5s backlight images that I could find were leaked on September 7th, 2013 just 3 days before the iPhone 5s invite went out.   The iPhone 5s backlight images were also leaked first by nowhereelse.fr.

In other news Vodaphone just slashed the price of the iPhone 5c on Friday. Target just dropped the price of the gold iPhone 5s to just $119.99 from $199.99 with a 2 year contract.    Walmart was the first to offer aggressive reduced pricing of the iPhone 5s to $119.99 back in March.  Radioshack in April reduced the price of the iPhone 5s to just $99.99 and the price remains intact today.

The wave of iPhone 5s price cuts fall line very closely with an International Business Times article from January, which indicated that Apple will slash the price of 5s by $100 in May 2014.  The IBT article also mentioned a possibility of a May and September iPhone 6 release schedule based on news picked from South Korea.

Conclusion

The wave of iPhone 5s price cuts and the most recent leaked image of the iPhone 6 backlight indicates that production is underway and release of Apple’s iPhone 6 could come anytime.  At this point I’m not expecting a iPhone 6 release at Apple’s WWDC that begins on June 2nd, but every data point seems to indicate that the iPhone 6 release is coming before September.

 

 

My Previous Articles on related to the iPhone 6 release date

https://margolismatt.com/2014/04/20/a-review-of-apples-supply-chain-management-indicates-a-june-iphone-6-release-is-likely/

https://margolismatt.com/2014/04/21/iphone-5s-price-slashing-activity-is-pointing-towards-a-june-iphone-6-arrival/

https://margolismatt.com/2014/04/27/apples-2014-wwdc-solar-charging-products-and-better-film/

https://margolismatt.com/2014/05/11/several-apple-analysts-believe-the-iphone-6-will-arive-as-early-as-june/

 

Disclosure: My premium PTT Research Forensics Newsletter is scheduled to launch on June 2nd. The premium paid service option will grant my paid subscribers exclusive content weeks before my analysis is published on Seeking Alpha, the Obscure Analyst blog or any other website.  Another advantage of PTT is the subscriber Forum that allows sharing of ideas and analyst Q&A. Did you know, that subscription based investment newsletter are typically tax-deductible?

 

Additional Disclosure: I am long GTAT (Apple’s newest Sapphire supplier)

 

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Reuters is reporting that the 4.7″ iPhone 6 will be arriving in August, one month earlier than most other media outlets. Reuters cited the Economic Daily News as the source of the report. The report also indicated that 80 million iPhone 6 handsets would be produced including a 5.5″ handset that is expected to arrive in September.

From Reuters:

TAIPEI, May 9 (Reuters) – Apple Inc will unveil the next incarnation of its popular iPhone series in August, one month earlier than industry watchers were generally expecting, Taiwanese media reported on Friday citing unidentified supply-chain sources.

A 4.7-inch screen version of the iPhone 6 will reach stores in August, the Economic Daily News reported without specifying which markets would receive the phone first.

A 5.5-inch or 5.6-inch model will be released in September, the newspaper said, as the iPhone 5 series was previously.

People involved in the supply chain had earlier confirmed to Reuters that there will be a 4.7-inch version of the iPhone 6 and a 5.5-inch version.

Together, the Economic Daily News said 80 million iPhone 6 handsets would be produced this year

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by Matt Margolis

I have been closing tracking various activity in 2014 and comparing it to previous years’ activities to determine the likely launch date of the iPhone 6. I did a review of the news regarding production activity surrounding Apple’s supply chain almost 3 weeks ago and the resounding answer was pointing towards a June iPhone 6 launch date. All of the 2014 production activity, hiring, leaked images, carrier discounts are all tracking 3 months ahead of last year’s September iPhone 5s/5c launch.

Yesterday, 9to5mac’s Mark Gurman reported that, Apple plans on launching an “enormous” iPhone upgrade even this week to boost sales. The “enormous” trade-in event will help clear Apple’s shelves much like the program launched last September to clear out inventory of the iPhone 5 just weeks ahead of the iPhone 5s/5c launch. Apple’s trade-in program is designed to boost sales of soon to be legacy devices and more importantly to remove excess inventory ahead of the next flagship iPhone product launch. The 2014 trade-in program is just another confirmation that the iPhone 6 is just weeks away from launch.

Mark Gurman’s Comments from August 26th, 2013

Apple is beginning final preparations to launch an iPhone trade-in program in its retail stores by next month, according to sources with knowledge of the initiative. This trade-in program will allow customers that own earlier versions of the iPhone, such as the iPhone 4S, to bring the phone into an Apple Store and exchange it for a new iPhone model, like the iPhone 5, at a discounted price…

Apple is said to have originally planned to launch the iPhone trade-in program during the last week of July, but the program’s launch was pushed back for unspecified reasons.

Mark Gurman’s Comments from May 5th, 2014

This program blends nicely with Apple’s Apple Store-based iPhone hardware trade-in program, which allows customers to turn-in older iPhone models to purchase a new model at a discounted price. Apple, in recent weeks, has increased the buyback prices for iPhones in its trade-in-program, according to a source.

This event will be held in multiple states across the United States, and Apple is said to be preparing for an influx of visitors to its stores on the levels of traffic driven to stores for new product debuts. Apple will brief Apple Retail management on the initiative tomorrow, according to the source. Additionally, Apple is said to be readying various other new marketing and sales initiatives to improve the sales of the iPhone in its retail stores.

Conclusion:

All of the data points I have examined indicate that the iPhone 6 launch is just weeks away and line up very nicely with the 2014 WWDC that is scheduled on June 2 through June 6 in San Francisco, CA. The recent announcement of Apple’s 2014 trade-in program just adds more fuel to what is already expected to be a very exciting iPhone 6 launch party.

Full Disclosure: I am long GTAT (Apple’s newest sapphire supplier)

As promised here are the latest pictures that were taken April 28th and April 29th of the Apple/GT Advanced sapphire plant located in Mesa, AZ.  The official name of the sapphire operation is “Project Cascade”.  The outside of the building including the crucial power supply to the building including the cooling system looks complete.

 

Steam Above Cooling System 6:30 AM on 4/28

first signs of steam

 

Employee Entrance “GT Advanced Technologies”

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Solar Arrays outside of Parking Lot

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Employee Parking lot 7:00 AM and 10:30AM local time (looks crowded)

Parking lot 7am  parking lot 1030

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Electrical Substation

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Cooling System on Back End of Electrical Substation

Cooling System Connection to Building cooling system 4 cooling system3 cooling system1 cooling system2

 

Full Disclosure I am long GTAT and have no plans to buy or sell any holdings

 

 

 

 

by Matt Margolis

Apple submitted two applications to the Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) No. 221 for approval.  Apple’s application for Sub Zone designation at the Apple/GT facility was submitted to the FTZ office on December 17th, 2013 and Apple’s application for “Interim” Production Notification Application was submitted to the FTZ office on December 30th, 2013.  The Interim Production Notification Application indicated that Apple had an aggressive go-live timeline of February 2014.  The Apple/GT facility was granted a temporary C-of-O (Certificate of Occupancy) to commence with occupancy and production of Quick Start 140 area on January 10th, 2014.  Quick start 140 was located in Module 1 of the Mesa facility and contained 140 “tools,” which are also know as sapphire growth furnaces.

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Apple’s application for Sub Zone 221 designation was submitted to the FTZ office on December 17th, 2013. The Apple/GT facility was formally granted Sub Zone approval on March 19th, 2014.  The Sub Zone approval was the final step required before Apple and GT could begin in earnest to manufacture intermediate components for consumer electronics for exports as indicated in their original Sub Zone application.

Apple Inc./GT Advanced Technologies Inc., Mesa, AZ, 221A, approved 3/19/2014 (S-5-2014)

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Another interesting fact to point out is the Master Development and SOW agreement between Apple and GTAT is that the agreement requires any additional furnace purchases, would be negotiated in good faith prior to the second Milestone Payment made under the Prepayment Agreement.  GT reported during their Q4 2013 conference call on February 24th, 2014 that they had received the second Milestone Payment from Apple.  The receipt of the second Milestone Payment from Apple signals that the furnaces that were required to be purchased and deployed as part of this agreement were all ordered on or before February 24th, 2014.

According to Port Authority records, sapphire growth furnace deliveries began heading to Mesa, AZ on December 2nd, 2013 and the last known delivery was recorded on March 10th, 2014.  I have tracked 1,265 furnace deliveries that have passed through Port Authority.  Additionally, any and all domestic furnaces that did not pass through Port Authority (i.e. truck) would not be caught in my sapphire furnace fishing net.

I have assumed GT deployed $251m of PPE ($180m) and Inventory ($71m), which would account for 837 additional furnaces inside Mesa giving me a total confirmed/estimated of 2,102 furnaces.  The book cost that GT assigned to each furnace that was deployed and taken out of inventory could be substantially lower than $300,000 per furnace.  If, GTAT’s price per furnace is actually $30,000 lower than my estimate it would add almost 100 furnaces to my estimate, conversely a $30,000 increase would decrease my estimate by 100 furnaces.

Based on my correspondence with a sapphire industry expert, GT had previously touted their ability to ramp up 500 furnaces per month at ASF equipment customer locations.  However, GT has already informed investors that they dedicated a vast majority of their ASF capacity to the Mesa, AZ sapphire effort, which would likely drive their drive GT’s maximum furnace ramp north of 500 furnaces per month.  Based on the furnace delivery dates and GT’s touted ability to ramp up efforts and focus on Mesa I’m becoming hard pressed NOT to believe that the Apple’s Mesa Sapphire plant WAS  likely operating at or near full capacity just days after the receiving the official unlimited go-live approval from the FTZ on March 19th, 2014.

 Tracked Furnace Deliveries and Estimated GTAT Furnace Deliveries

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My Estimated # of Furnaces Purchased/Deployed in Mesa, AZ

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Apple’s purchase of additional Furnaces and Similar Furnaces will be made under the terms of Apple’s Master Equipment Purchase Agreement (the “MEPA”).  Apple and GTAT will negotiate in good faith to execute the MEPA as soon as possible following the Effective Date, but in any event prior to the second Milestone Payment made under the Prepayment Agreement. Prepayment Agreement

 

We have dedicated the vast majority of our current ASF capacity to support this multi-year commitment.  This has limited our ability to take additional ASF business in the near term and has restricted our ability to ship backlog on short notice (GTAT Q3 2013 Prepared Remarks)

 

GTAT 2012 Presentation on their Sapphire Equipment

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Apple’s Entire “Interim” Production Notification Application is Below

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Full Disclosure: I am long GTAT and have no plans to buy or sell any holdings

 

As the iPhone 6 inches closer to its release date the volume of leaked photos will continue to rise. The latest edition of leaked photos from Weibo.com appear to show the front panel of the upcoming iPhone without a cover screen. The front panel appears to be longer and slightly wider than the iPhone 5 that is pictured next to it.

The leaked images align closely with news reports that various suppliers will begin ramping up production of various key components in Q2. If components are coming off the production press by late May then a late June release for the 4.7″ cannot be ruled out. Foxconn reportedly was producing 500k iPhone 5s models a day by late 2013 and I expect the addition of Pegatron to lift total capacity closer to 1 million phones per day. In March it was reported that Pegatron was going on a hiring spree to be ready to assemble units during Q2. The iPhone 6 manufactures could conceivable produce enough units of inventory to in just 30 days to support a iPhone 6 launch in late June or early July. Stay tuned as this could be a surprise to everyone.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) reported began production on the A8 chip in March.

Micron Technology announced that they begun ramping up production of their DRAM memory LPDDR4 which is also consistent with company comments made in January that they would land in mobile handsets later in 2014.

Reuters indicated that Japan Display Inc, Sharp Corp and South Korea’s LG Display Co Ltd will begin mass producing display touch panel screens as early as May.

Sapphire cover screen supplier GT Advanced Technologies, who is growing sapphire inside Apple’s Mesa, AZ sapphire plant has also begun to ramp up its production as well. 9to5Mac released information in January indicating that Apple wanted to go-live with the Mesa sapphire operations by February. Additional records pulled from the city of Mesa website and FTZ indicate that the facility has indeed begun production and the first line or 140 tools (ASF sapphire growth furnaces) went live on January 10th and was followed by another significant ramp up in Tools by the middle of February.

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Full Disclosure: I am long shares of GTAT and have no plans to buy or sell any holdings