3 predictions for tech giant Apple in Q1 2015
At least two or three times a year the Apple rumor mill goes into overdrive. Speculation regarding new products, new operating systems or software updates makes headlines around the world, but what can we really expect from the technology manufacturing giant? Manufacturing Global finds out.
APPLE WATCH TO LAUNCH IN MARCH
According to reports the Apple Watch will go on sale sometime in March. It is thought that Apple will ship in the region of 2.8 million Apple Watch units in the first quarter of this year. Although most Apple Watch suppliers are expected to produce enough components for 4 million to 5 million units, some analysts have noted that the supplies for several key parts may be constrained due to low yields.
Apple may also reveal additional details about the Apple Watch ahead of its release, including battery life information. A recent report from 9to5Mac suggested that Apple is having difficulty meeting the original battery life goals that it set for the Apple Watch. According to 9to5Mac’s sources, Apple was hoping to get 19 hours of mixed usage per charge.
12-INCH MACBOOK AIR TO DEBUT IN MARCH
A research note seen by AppleInsider predicted that the long-rumored 12-inch MacBook Air with Retina display would be released in the first quarter of 2015. The 12-inch MacBook Air is expected to feature many design changes aimed at making it thinner than any of Apple’s previous models, including the elimination of full-sized USB ports, MagSafe connectors, and SD card slots. Apple will instead utilize a USB Type-C port that will handle both connectivity and charging functions for the device.
According to reports, Quanta Computer - the same company that is supposedly manufacturing the Apple Watch - has already started production on the 12-inch MacBook Air. That production timeline would appear to align with a March launch date.
HOLIDAY QUARTER IPHONE SALES WILL SURPASS EXPECTATIONS
According to reports, Apple sold a record-setting 73 million iPhones during the last three months of 2014. As noted by Business Insider, this is well above the 66-million-unit consensus among analysts.
It is believed the majority of the sales came from the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, with more than 42 million units, while sales of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus accounted for 16 million units. The rest of the sales were derived from a mix of the iPhone 5S (9 million units), the iPhone 5C (4.2 million units), and the iPhone 4S (1.5 million units).
If these figures are accurate, then Apple will have far surpassed all of its previous quarterly sales records, including the all-time record of 51 million units that it set in the 2013 holiday quarter. The company will announce its 2015 first fiscal quarter results on Tuesday.
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.