back to article iPhone sales set to PLUMMET: Bleak times ahead for Apple

Tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted Apple will face a grim start to 2015 with iPhone sales plummeting by up to a third. Kuo, of analyst outfit KGI Securities, has predicted that iPhone sales will surge ahead of Christmas, reaching a height of a total of 71.5 million units for the fourth quarter. Yet after the Christmas …

  1. rcp27

    Even the regular 6 is too big

    I wandered into the iStore at the weekend to have a drool over the retina iMac, and had a fondle of the phones. I have an iPhone 5 and have been broadly happy with it, but I thought I'd have a poke around at the new options. On my 5, if I hold it in one hand, my thumb can reach all for corners. On the 6, I can't quite reach the top left corner icon (for a right hander). On the 6+ I can't reach about a third of the screen. When the whole world was going phablet crazy and Apple resolutely insisted they had the right screen size, I was all on board. Now there is practically nothing in the one-handed size category. bring back the smaller screens!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Even the regular 6 is too big

      The larger sizes could be trouble for those who are addicted to texting/facebooking/emailing while driving. Around my community, if you pull up to nearly any stoplight you can see people in their cars one-hand stabbing on the glass of what appear to be iPhones.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Even the regular 6 is too big

        My brother used to do it on the old 0-9 keypad phones. So the size of a phone has nothing to do with it.

        Perhaps it's because Siri is crap or people hate speaking to their tech?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          I used to do that on rotary dial phones.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Even the regular 6 is too big

      The general trend for phones is bigger is better, sales are suggesting that people want them.

      Apple can't ignore that fact. Personally I think they have greater problems than you and your thumbs, the iOS software quality seems to be dipping, more people having upgrade issues and iOS patches being withdrawn.

    3. DaveMcM

      Re: Even the regular 6 is too big

      The double touch on the home button feature to drop the screen down and make the top of it thumb reachable is a nice touch and works pretty well, showing that Apple have at least considered one handed use issues, but even then the extra width of the 6 is still an problem for me and I'm still hitting the "change keyboard" button when stretching for the "numeric keyboard" button far more often than I'd like - maybe I've just got stubby thumbs?.

      I'll admit the reasonably chunky case I've got on my 6 adds a couple of mm to the girth and doesn't help, but without a case the 6 is a thing of slim beauty with all the tractive properties of a bar of wet soap.

      I've yet to see a 6+ in the wild to gauge the size of it but from comparison photos with the 6 my brain has settled on "too big" and left it there.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Even the regular 6 is too big

        >The double touch on the home button feature

        I just gained kudos from a colleague for showing them that double-tap method....

        Cheers I owe you one of these --------------------------->>>>>>>>>

        [ Subtle because it's a double tap rather than a double push ]

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Even the regular 6 is too big

      "On my 5, if I hold it in one hand, my thumb can reach all for corners."

      I remember that was a marketed selling point of the 5 - a phone of the perfect size.

      Strangely Apple appears to have suffered amnesia with their latest models. :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Even the regular 6 is too big

        Why can't you chose 5-left or 5-right on the interface so the layout is like the smaller screen but shifted towards your preferred thumb?

        Normal for general use but (for example) three taps across the screen towards the preferred side shrinks the input area or at least presents one better laid out for one thumb operation.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Even the regular 6 is too big

      I have always questioned what seemed like a UI design FAILwith iOS in that you have to routinely reach across the screen to the top left hand corner while using an iDevice. On pretty much every other phone the main navigation keys/buttons are at the bottom of the screen. Even before size became an issue, all that cross screen reaching seemed totally unnecessary and I have never understood why more people haven't questioned Apple this fundamental ergonomic flaw.

      My Note 3 has the same screen size as an iPhone 6 Plus and it is possible to use it one handed for email, dialling and other routine stuff. But whether using with one or two hands, Android phones have always seemed more comfortable than iPhones to me as a result of this very simple difference in IU design.

    6. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Even the regular 6 is too big

      The fact is that the Galaxy Note was launched at a higher price point than the iPhone, and they managed to sell in reasonable numbers. It is normally very difficult to break the Apple price ceiling. That is why it was necessary for Apple to move into the Phablet market.

    7. Thomas Wolf

      Re: Even the regular 6 is too big

      My whole family was eligible for an upgrade end of September. As you did, we went to the Apple store - but only I came out with than iPhone 6. Both my teenage daughter and wife hate the new size. My daughter upgraded from her iPhone 5 to a 5s (only because her old phone's camera had issues). My wife decided not to upgrade at all. I had to think hard before I upgraded - I, too, didn't like the larger form factor, but in the end I went for it because I wanted the much better camera, Touch ID, and - most importantly - Apple Pay.

      I've gotten used to the bigger phone - but even with the navigation "aid" of double-touching the home key to bring down the top of the screen, I don't think I'm as efficient on the iPhone 6 as I was on my iPhone 5. For the life of me, I can't understand why Apple chose to completely discontinue the 4" form factor. I can completely understand why they introduced larger phones - there's obviously a market for them - but to completely shut out those customers who were happy with 4" seems ridiculous. Before anyone chimes in with "well, you can still buy the 5s, 5c, or 4s", I will respond by suggesting that people like me want the 4" form factor AND the newest technology. If Apple had introduced three iPhone 6 models, 4", 4.7" and 5.5", everyone in my family would have upgraded - and all of us would have gotten the 4" model. My wife is actually still hoping that Apple will wake up and serve up a 4" model at some point in the future - I told her not to hold her breadth :-(

  2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Anal-ist states the bleeding obvious again.

    Common sense suggests that Apple plans lower sales for its phablet than its more mainstream phone, no doubt the plan to introduce two premium SKU's was analysed to death internally for the last year at least.

  3. Steve Todd Silver badge

    Since they only sold

    51 million phones in the Christmas quarter last year, and 43 million in the first quarter of this year, then my guess is that they will be laughing all the way to the bank, and that times will be far from bleak. Does Hammil ever stop trying to predict Apple's doom from any report he can lay his sticky little hands on?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Since they only sold

      Yes, but the prediction is "reaching a height of a total of 71.5 units for the fourth quarter."

      That apears to be a significant drop in sales ;-)

  4. DerekCurrie

    Why Are Apple DOOM Analysts Worth Quoting?

    Beats me! Here we go yet again.

    Apple DOOM rhetoric has been so prolific over the course of time that there's even a dedicated documentation web page. Enjoy and laugh:

    Apple Death Knell Counter

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why Are Apple DOOM Analysts Worth Quoting?

      ...this is The Register. If there is even the slightest tangential link that results in the possibility of a negative spin of a reference to Apple, it is jumped on.

    2. Eddy Ito

      Re: Why Are Apple DOOM Analysts Worth Quoting?

      Did you read the article? Better yet, did you read the linked article? Let me save you the time of hitting the back button and sum it up for you. 'Holiday season sales not likely to be sustainable after the holidays'. That's it. Alternately you could read it as 'Holiday season sales set to surge before Xmas then normalize after the holidays'.

      I'll play analyst and make a prediction: US whole turkey sales set to plummet after the holidays as cranberry sales surge as holidays draw near.

      See how that works? Go ahead, give it a try. You can pick almost anything from fruit cake to ugly sweaters. It's fun.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Why Are Apple DOOM Analysts Worth Quoting?


        I predict that there will be a lull in unwanted christmas presents for a period of 4 weeks just prior to the 25 dec. After this time Fleabay will be awash with aformentioned goods for a period of approxiamately 11 months.

      2. Darryl

        Re: Why Are Apple DOOM Analysts Worth Quoting?

        The other prediction that the 6+ will be a 'failure' compared to the 6 isn't news either. Samsung sells more Galaxy S's than they do Notes, but they still sell enough Notes to make them a worthwhile product, which is pretty much what I'll bet Apple is finding with the 6+

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Why Are Apple DOOM Analysts Worth Quoting?

        cranberry sales surge as holidays draw near

        Do they?

        Most cranberries eaten as part of holiday meals in the US are canned - either whole-berry or jellied varieties of cranberry sauce. Since those are preserved, there's no need for a surge in purchasing by the processors during the holiday season.

        Meanwhile, cranberries are 1) a major cash crop1, so they're relatively unaffected by a seasonal bump in consumption; and 2) they're still grown outdoors and are subject to the seasons. They'll be bought when they're sold.

        Now, if you had said cranberry sauce sales surge ... yeah, I could see that.

        1Because cranberries are the Bumbles of fruit: they bounce. The air pockets that make them float (and thus wonderfully easy to harvest) also act as shock absorbers. That makes them unusually suited, among the fruits, for transport. Consequently cranberries are the main ingredient of many processed-fruit products, such as "fruit leathers". The Economist did a story on this some years back.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The analyst didn't predict doom

      But rather predictably, Jesper wrote his headline to imply it when no doom was implied by the analyst. Both the 71 million sales for this quarter and 49 million sales for the next quarter would easily break Apple's previous sales records for those quarters. Given that the mix is going to be higher priced this time around (thanks to the extra $100 for the 6 Plus) it will be even more lucrative for Apple.

      Since Apple is now trading at a pre-split stock price of $828, the Reg's "peak Apple" predictions were wrong before, and they'll have to wait a bit before they can trot that out again. In the meantime they'll have to content themselves with trying to spin good news as a disaster...

  5. cirby

    Oh, my...

    You mean iPhone sales will follow the exact same pattern they ALWAYS do? Millions of people upgrade as fast as the things hit the shelves, then stop buying because they all have new phones?


    1. Ribblethrop

      Re: Oh, my...

      There could be a facility to add sarcasm tags to headlines, which may help prevent incidents like this.

  6. Chad H.

    Company sells more stuff in leadup to christmas, less afterwards. Wow. What an amazing piece of insight... and quality journalism too. Next week on El Reg: We'll make a big deal about another analyst making a painfully obvious obvseration that isn't newsworthy: Will it be Water is Wet? The Sky is Blue? Sometimes it Rains? Wait and see.

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      You can scoff all you like, but you can't fail to be impressed by the astonishing sales breakdown prediction:

      "Apple are currently selling 3 6's for every 6+. I predict that Apple will sell more 6's than 6+'s."

      Only a true predictive GENIUS could have worked that one out.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...a total of 71.5 units for the fourth quarter....

    Wow....I never realised that things had got so bad for Apple! Even Microsoft might sell more units than that!

    I guess the .5 unit is what is left of a display model that someone tested the bending issue on....

  8. Frankee Llonnygog

    Peak Apple

    Peak keeps on peaking, not yet plummeting or even plateauing, plunging Hamill precipitously into a pique.

  9. Alan Denman

    £45 Moto E or iPhone 6.

    I'll have a dozen of them.

    You never know, one might bend.

  10. KroSha

    Other Anal-yst predictions

    December likely to be colder than August (limited to the Northern hemisphere).

    Company to sell more before New Year than after.

    Shit rolls downhill.

    Analysts will continue to be overpaid for making guesses and/or obvious statements.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Other Anal-yst predictions

      Shit doesn't really roll, it kinda sticks....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, pity the poor 'Applelites'

    How will they survive? I suppose the Apple employees will have to belt tighten? Instead of feasting on Quail and jewel encrusted Hob Nobs for their elevensies they'll have to make do with a packet of Nettos 'Own Brand' digestives.

  12. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    It is Monday and ...

    It's Jasper with his usalt Anto apple diatribe.

    Move along there, not news.

  13. Joe Gurman

    Apples to Apples

    Just to keep the comparison on par, the 2015 January - March quarter is Apple's fiscal year 2015 second quarter. In 2013, Q2 iPhone sales were 37 million units; in 2014, Q2 iPhone sales were 44 million units. In what way is 49+ million units bad news? According to the arithmetic I learned during the late Jurassic, that's an 11% increase over last year, if it indeed comes to pass. Do you know any business, anywhere, that would be unhappy with an 11% increase in sales in their historically worst quarter of the year?

    To get a better grip on the "analysts" who predict doom and gloom every quarter for Apple (c'mon, they've gotta be right soon for later, right?) see Macworld's Macalope column almost every week for an hilarious collection of poor prognostication, e.g.: .

    And Apple retail Store employees will continue having to make do with ramen noodles, unless they have a second job. Shareholders, on the other hand....

  14. William Donelson

    "The iPhablet will shift just as half as many units as its normal-sized cousin, the analyst indicated."

    i.e. *only* 75 million units in 2 quarters. Eat your heart out, Samsung.

  15. David 66

    Festive season?

    Don't go there. Do you mean XMAS? Yule would be cool, of course

    1. jeffdyer

      Re: Festive season?

      Do *you* mean Christmas?

  16. messele

    Peak Hamill?, just kidding folks. This tabloid gutter snipe clown flatlined years ago.

    Daily Mail headhunters not been in touch yet then?

  17. goldcd

    I'd never assumed the 6+ was supposed to outsell the 6.

    I'd always assumed that finally Apple had realized a bit bigger basic size was a good idea (the 6) and the 6+ was simply to stop anybody who might have been pondering leaving the ecosystem for a Note (or whatever).

    I'm an Android user, but looking at the 6 hardware/size (and the iOS tweaks like choosing a decent keyboard), suddenly realized that most of my previous criticisms/blockers to buy, had all been neatly tidied away.

    Still don't like the UI much - but that's more a personal preference, and as most people seem to like it, I don't feel it's really a complaint. Plus Android seems to be becoming annoying more and more locked down (yes, I had to root my damn phone to allow my file manager of choice to write to the SD card).

    1. MerlynUK

      Re: I'd never assumed the 6+ was supposed to outsell the 6.

      Ahh, but at least you have an SD card and a file manager! Seriously, Android 5 reportedly fixes the problem with 3rd party apps being able to access SD cards, but I've not had chance to test this yet...

  18. VeganVegan

    link bait

    I suspect Mr. Hamill will gladly suffer the grim, bleak, bad times and cries of failure and peak Hamill, if he could only manage the measly shipment of 49.4 million, profitable units of anything.

    I know that I would.

  19. YorksinOaks

    Fiat 500 XL /= Fiat 500

    Ironic that for many years Apple and Analysts compared iPhone sales to Samsung Sx and excluded the massive Note sales (>25M was reached for the Note 2 and climbing since then) but now they aggregate the iPhone 6 and 6+ sales in their comparisons....____, ____........and damned statistics.

    Conversely I see far bigger uptake of iPhone6 among my customers (male managers) than iPhone 4 to 5 so sales are definitely hitting a market which was missed previously.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bendgate probably didn't help the 6 plus sales.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jasper Hamill is either an idiot or a link bait troll- which is it?

    First calendar quarter of 2014; Apple sells 43.7m iPhones (in excess of the 39m it had guided).

    First calendar quarter of 2015; Apple predicted to sell 49m phones

    12% year-on-year growth.


    Ming-Chi Kuo didn't say why he was comparing successive quarters, but at least he wasn't predicting doom.

    Jasper Hamill is either an idiot or trolling for clicks. Which is it? Either way it's not journalism.

  22. Zap

    Nice problem to have

    49m phones, when will analysts realise that their biggest problem is analysts who hype up the expectation then put in the warnings. It is all a game to get people to buy and sell Apple shares so the companies they work for can make a killing.

    If phones were lower than expectations it might be because they bend or was that really a scare story started by Samsung as some have reported.

    I like the Iphone6 being bigger, it means old gits like me can actually see it.

    I still hate the OS, so many things missing from my crappy old phone.

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