Consumer Products

2021 Outlook for iPhone Sales Brightens: TrendForce

Taiwan-based market research firm TrendForce said Monday that it now expects total iPhone production in 2021 to increase by 12.3% year over year to 223 million units. The researchers attribute the increase to a rebound in demand as the global economy shakes off the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to Huawei’s decision to give up competing for market share among high-end smartphones. A remaining constraint is the availability of semiconductors, but TrendForce remains “cautiously optimistic.”

TrendForce expects Apple to release its next-generation iPhone in September and calls the device the iPhone 12s, although that name is not official. Most other coverage of Apple’s next iPhone refers to an iPhone 13, but rumors abound that the next iteration of the iPhone incorporates comparatively minor features. According to CNET, Apple may avoid the unlucky “13” designation altogether and release an iPhone 14 in 2022.

TrendForce analysts agree with the opinion that this year’s iPhone upgrade is likely to be minor:

All in all, the degree of innovation is not particularly significant in terms of appearance, and the four new models can be regarded as an extension to the iPhone 12 series. Because of this, TrendForce also believes that Apple will continue the proactive pricing strategy that it adopted in 2020 so as to maintain its market share for high-end smartphones.

In other words, pricing for the iPhone 12s is not likely to be much different (read: higher) than current pricing for the iPhone 12 series that came out late last year. Here’s what TrendForce is looking for in the 12s:

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  • A flexible AMOLED display with on-cell touchscreen technology
  • 120Hz refresh rates on the Pro models
  • Similar memory capacities as iPhone 12 series

Overall, TrendForce expects Apple’s 5G-enabled phones, including the coming 12s models, to account for 75% of total iPhone production this year. The firm also believes that the “latest iPhone devices” will account for about 39% of the company’s production volume this year. A follow-on to the ill-fated 12 mini is also unlikely.