When Apple releases their earnings for the 2014 holiday season in mid-January 2015, I expect them to have record sales of iPhones and Macs. The street predicts Apple will sell between 63-65 million iPhones but I think it could be higher given the strong interest in the 5c in China and older iPhones still in the pipeline. I suspect even their tablet business was robust over the holiday.
In 2015, I believe demand for the iPhone 6 will continue to be strong and have record numbers as each quarter, especially in the US, people will be coming out of current carrier contracts and upgrading their phones throughout the year. By next fall, Apple will have new models that will help keep that cycle moving forward.
Last quarter, Apple sold one million more Macs then they did in the previous year’s quarter. New iMacs and a new Macbook Air (out in 2015 — thinner, lighter and sport Intel’s newest chip) will continue to drive strong Mac sales. We also believe Apple will introduce a 12.9“ tablet aimed at business and this too could help enhance their tablet sales in 2015. BTW, this could be a game changer for the Apple crowd. While Apple will not back the 2 in 1 concept a la Microsoft Surface, a larger screen iPad with a 3rd party keyboard could make it a productivity workhorse while also finding its way into the home as a great portable TV and movie player.
Then there is the Apple Watch. I and many others are still skeptical about whether a market for smartwatches even exists. If there is one, Apple will be the company to make it happen. Apple has an important edge over possible competitors. They own the hardware and design, software SDK, application store and a powerful distribution network with their stores. While I don’t know what the killer app for a smartwatch is, Apple has empowered the software community to create apps for their new watch platform and I never underestimate the genius and innovation that could come from that community. I predict Apple will have at least 5,000 apps for the Apple Watch when it launches and we should see many killer apps that appeal to a very broad audience.
On a related note, I have the privilege of moderating a CES Supersession on smartwatches on Wednesday, January 7th at the Venetian Hotel, Level 1, Casanova 605. If you are at CES and interested in smartwatches, I encourage you to come by. I have execs from Samsung, Motorola, Intel’s Basis division and Yahoo on this panel to discuss if there is a market for smartwatches. The actual title of the session is “The Market for Smart Watches”. Super Sessions are open to anyone who attends the show.
Then there is Apple TV. I believe 2015 will be the year Apple lays their cards out on their new Apple TV strategy. I personally don’t think they will do an actual TV but they could dramatically redesign their current Apple TV hardware as well as give us a new type of UI and way to access and interact with TV and streaming media. This too should be a game changer given what Steve Jobs told his biographer.
There is also a possible wild card in the works. Tim Cook has stated publicly they are working on things nobody has even talked about in the media. Maybe 2015 will be the year we see something in a completely new category that could also impact their bottom line.
While Apple had a great 2014, I will not be surprised if they have an equal or even better 2015.