Taiwan's supply chain is buzzing today as they expect shipments of Apple's iPhone devices to top 50 million units in the first quarter of 2015, increasing 14.4% from 43.7 million units shipped in the year earlier period. Yet considering that Apple never got their iPhone 6 inventory to where they wanted it to be by year end, the blowout for the next quarter could even be larger.
The estimate comes after Apple reported that it shipped 74.5 million iPhone devices in the fourth quarter of 2014, accounting for 51.2% of its total revenues of US$74.6 billion recorded in the quarter.
Demand for smartphones in the Greater China area during the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays will maintain sales of iPhone devices in the first quarter, the market watchers said. Apple's four new Apple Store openings in China (one, two and three and the fourth opening this weekend in Tianjin Joy City) prior to the Chinese New Year is likely to lead to a positive boost for sales.
We reported yesterday that Hurun Research had said in a recent statement that "The upcoming Chinese New Year would be the peak of gift giving in China ... Apple has become the most eye-catching gift brand this year." If true, Apple's iPhone sales could be in store for yet another year-over-year historic high.
Apple's sales in the Greater China area, mainly China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, totaled US$16.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, increasing 70% from a year earlier, according to company data. The ratio of Asia-Pacific sales to Apple's total sales is expected to continue to rise, said one industry watcher.
This news is especially interesting in light of the news that one of Samsung's key executives that were preparing to launch the new Galaxy S6 in Barcelona early next month abruptly resigned.
According to the Wall Street Journal, "A senior Samsung Electronics Co. executive in charge of the technology giant's rollout of its next flagship smartphone has abruptly resigned, people familiar with the matter said, in the latest management departure at the struggling mobile division.
Mr. Kim's main responsibility had been to oversee the successful launch of Samsung's next Galaxy S smartphone, expected to be unveiled at a trade show in Barcelona next month."
There's been mayhem and forced resignations over at Samsung ever since the release of their Q3 and Q4 financials were made public. With their leading mobile division profits plummeting like a rock and Apple's iPhone 6 sales soaring to new historic highs in general and specifically in South Korea, having a major executive resign just weeks prior to launching their next generation Galaxy S6 in Barcelona is yet another sign that behind the scenes, mayhem is still an ongoing negative factor in the company.
With today's news that Apple's iPhone 6 sales are continuing to rock in Q1, Samsung is under even more pressure to come up with a miracle Galaxy smartphone upgrade with a heavy specification boost to grab the headlines away from Apple. Will they succeed? While only time will tell us the answer to that question, it doesn't look all that promising at this point in time. Stay tuned.