updated 10:37 am EDT, Fri April 4, 2014
Vendors looking forward to big-screen iPhones
Carriers and other vendors in China are seeing relatively weak demand for the iPhone 5s, suggests Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White. White is currently touring the country and speaking with various parties. Instead demand is said to be rising for various local smartphone brands, like Xiaomi. Vendors are, however, said to be expressing "great enthusiasm around the potential for Apple to introduce a larger iPhone form factor in China this year with the iPhone 6."
"In our view," he continues, "the iPhone 6 with a larger screen (e.g., 4.7-inch, 5.5-inch) has the potential to meaningfully accelerate Apple's growth trajectory in China during 2H:14. We have not heard this type of excitement in China around the iPhone in at least two years and thus we believe this could be a very special iPhone launch for Apple."
iPhone 5s demand is likely being hampered by price more than any other factor. The product is sold contract-free in China, and is even more expensive there than an unlocked model in the US, putting it well beyond the monthly salaries of many Chinese. Phones by locally-owned companies are often significantly cheaper, if not always feature-competitive.
One feature those phones do tend to have though is larger displays. At the same time as most of its competitors have switched to screens at or around 5 inches, Apple has stuck with 4 inches. Apple is believed to be working on two iPhones with bigger screens, measuring 4.7 and 5.5 inches.