Apple may be getting ready to surprise consumers with not one, but two new iPhone models in the coming months. According to Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall, the Cupertino company will likely roll out a low-end iPhone near the US$99 price point, and a high end model with 32GB of storage.
"We believe Apple is preparing to launch at least two new iPhones in the June quarter with a high-end version (32GB) and a low-end version ($99)," Mr. Marshall said. "Our checks indicate a substantial build plan increase for the June quarter (potentially doubling quarter over quarter) from our current 3.1 million unit estimate for March '09."
A $99 iPhone would fill a niche many analysts think Apple needs to address for deeper market penetration, although so far the company hasn't offered any indication that it is interested in pursuing the low end of the cell phone market.
Mr. Marshall also thinks that Apple will introduce a netbook or tablet-type type device sometime this year. He is expecting Apple will sell some 900,000 units by the end of December 2009, and about 2.2 million units in 2010. Much like the fabled $99 iPhone, Apple hasn't offered any hints about whether or not it has a tablet or netbook device in the works.
Even without a tablet or netbook, Mac sales are likely to continue to climb. "We are raising our March '09 Mac unit assumptions to 2.3 million from 2.1 million as our build plan checks indicate better sell-through than we previously estimated."
He added that Snow Leopard, or Mac OS X 10.6, will likely ship in the September quarter. "We believe Snow Leopard OS will launch in the September '09 quarter and assume two million upgrades at $99 ASP," he said. "In our view, this is conservative since two million Leopard upgrades were purchased in the initial weekend of its launch in December '07."
Mr. Marshall is rating Apple as a "Buy" with a $120 target price, up from his previous $110 target price. Apple closed on Monday at $95.42 with a $94.98 billion market cap.