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Analyst: new low-cost iPhones, 45m in 2009

updated 11:25 am EDT, Mon March 31, 2008

Munster on Low Cost iPhone

Apple will kick off 2009 with at least one new iPhone model aimed at the budget realm, according to new predictions by Piper Jaffray senior researcher Gene Munster. The analyst expects Apple to have between two to three distinct iPhone models no later than January 2009 and also expects Apple to make its first efforts to branch out past the $400 mark. At least one model will ship at between $200 and $300, Munster claims. One of the three models is likely to be the now presumed 3G iPhone, which Piper Jaffray anticipates arriving between June and September with new features.

Although not necessarily likely to be used, Apple recently filed for a dual-sided trackpad patent that could potentially allow for a smaller-screened iPhone that uses a clamshell design instead of the larger bar design of the phone first launched in 2007.

This combined with rapid expansion plans should lead to a surge in overall sales over the space of the next two years, Munster writes. The expert sees potential iPhone launches in 2008 that could introduce the handset to Canada and Mexico in North America as well as Australia, Italy, and a first Asian launch in Japan. A Chinese release of the phone in 2009 may also occur if Apple is willing to relent on the exclusive deals it has set up in the past.

Should the expansion continue, the new markets could "effectively double" the potential market for iPhones every year and may help Apple sell as many as 45 million iPhones during 2009, according to the analyst. The growth is enough that the cellular business is considered Apple's most potential-laden business and may supercede other categories that the California company depends upon for its current success.

"The iPhone is the driver with the greatest potential," Munster says. "We believe the iPhone will replace the iPod as a driver of significant growth for the company."

by MacNN Staff



  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    45 million iPhones...

    in 2009 is an absurdly huge number to sell. They'd have to be a lot cheaper and have many more features in order to achieve that figure. I'm not saying Apple can't, but since they may only sell 11-12 million in 2008, I can't imagine where all those sales will come from in 2009. Maybe if it becomes a powerful gaming platform, too.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    not too late to buy AAPL folks. Within a year or two you'll be glad you did. Think about if you'd bought AAPL when they first came out with the iPod, before iPod mini/shuffle.

    Almost a no-brainer that there will be cheaper versions of iPhone.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: 45 million iphones...

    it's possible. Read this (from a Fortune article about Munsters report)

    Conceding that most investors consider his 45 million estimate “outrageously aggressive,” Munster supports it with a somewhat mysterious chart that compares the 409% year-to-year growth rate of the iPod in its breakout years with his estimate of just over 300% for the iPhone.

    If a discount model comes out, it's very feasible!! 3G will also be a huge seller, gaining not only new clients but upgraders as well. With push email and better corporate features. And as the expand overseas markets, thats just more on top of the pile!

    I see it as being very feasible! A discount model will help greatly tho and I hope they do that soon!

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPhone vs. iPod

    basing iPhone sales predictions upon the explosion of iPod sales could be risky, but it is true that iPhone has a certain prestige value that is difficult to overestimate. I am certain there are many like me who would love to own an iPhone but have held out due to the cost of the handset.

    I am also resistant to signing a 2 year contract (as I have stated here many times before) and also to paying the likely increase in monthly fees compared to what I pay now, but a sufficiently inexpensive iPhone could be what it takes to overcome that resistance, both for myself and other people.

    There is tremendous unexploited potential for iPhone sales beyond the bleeding-edge folks who bought the 1st gen. Also think about all of those folks who would gladly upgrade to the new iPhone!

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPhone growth

    Very interesting. The massive projected sales are not entirely unreasonable if a few new countries are added. Japan alone is a massive market particular for all things that are small & well designed. 3 million iPhones / year in Japan would be a conservative figure. Climacs is right, time to buy AAPL ( I sure did). Munster is perhaps the most knowledgable analyst as far as Apple is concerned. Georges Yared would be another heavyweight who thinks AAPL is one of the best US stocks to own for the next 3-5 years.

  1. psdenno

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's all a factor....

    ...of how many sales outlets Apple can establish through international cell service providers. Samsung is set to sell 200 million phones through its market links this year, so why not 45 million for Apple next year if enough countries fall in line? There must be more than a few of the 1.5 billion Chinese who would be willing to "Think Different".

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Koolkid - Virgin Records was sold off in 1996. Branson got back into the music business with V2, but that has again been split up and sold off. Notably, they were one of the largest labels to sell MP3 DRM-free via emusic. So, th

    Which is to say, this move has nothing to do with Virgin Records, although it might have something to do with Branson having some respect for the idea that recorded music is actually a product in itself, rather than just 'promotion'.

    Bhuot - no one said anything about going to prison, or even fines or reporting on who customers are. It's a private business and like most they can terminate contracts for many reasons. However, given the way they are making money, false positives = lost customers.

    As a Virgin Internet customer I'm in two minds - I don't like the idea of my ISP snooping my content, but I am realistic that I have a contract with a third party firm to get my internet access - and I expect that something similar is likely to come from most mainstream ISP.

    It's the end of the Wild West pardners.

  1. thebiggfrogg

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The Chinese Market

    As a current resident in China I have to say that I cringe every time I hear the 1.5 (1.3) billion person market figure cited. China does indeed have a large market, but there are only about 200-300 million middle class people who have disposable purchasing power (still huge, still the size of the U.S. by itself). 1:8 people in the world is a Chinese peasant and while I have seen some of these people with mobile phones they won't likely be owning a premium product like an iPhone (even a reduced cost version).

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