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Apple is expected to have a bright iPhone business in the fourth quarter of 2023, thanks to its recently released iPhone 15 models. According to supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the new Pro Max will be “the primary growth driver” of this. However, the analyst also pointed out the expectation challenges Apple is facing with two of the models in the lineup.

“Apple’s 4Q23 iPhone revenue and profit will likely be better than expected and easily achieve YoY growth based on early iPhone sales results survey thanks to better product mix and shipment growth,” Kuo wrote in a recent report.

According to the analyst, the estimated 80 million iPhone 15 shipment units for 2H23 remain unchanged. It is higher than 2H22’s 76 million iPhone 14 shipment count, leading to the apparent growth of the giant’s iPhone business in the coming quarter report.

Yet, the iPhone 15 Pro Max will be the superstar of this success, as per Kuo. “From the telephoto camera module orders, which represents the most significant bottleneck in the supply chain, the iPhone 15 Pro Max order for this year has been revised upward to 35 million units (vs. 28 million shipments for the 14 Pro Max last year), serving as the primary growth driver for Apple’s iPhone business in 4Q23,” Kuo shared.

The analyst claimed that the iPhone 15 Plus might also experience an order increase due to initial low expectations. This is not surprising, nonetheless, as Plus models usually performed poorly in the past series of Apple. For instance, the iPhone 14 Plus had the smallest market share among US carriers in April 2023, according to a Wave7 Research report shared by JPMorgan Chase. Yet, as Kuo revealed in the report, the iPhone 15 Plus is different “as sales results are better than feared.”

On the other hand, the standard and the Pro models in this year’s release seem to have inherited the Plus’ reputation. The analyst said that the basic iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro fall short of expectations and that “there is a likelihood of order cuts for these two models if Apple doesn’t cut their prices.”

Of course, price cuts sound far from possible for Apple, but there is hope that carriers will aid this potential issue. As Counterpoint Research said in August, carrier partners of Apple will help the company achieve success in this year’s iPhone 15 release. The firm even predicted that Apple could snatch the top spot for annual shipments globally for the first time, despite 2023 likely ending up as “the worst year for global smartphone shipments in ten years.”


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