Piper Jaffries analyst Gene Munster: Thanks to his endless advocacy of the so-called Apple HDTV, claiming year after year that Apple’s television set is just a few months away, Munster’s a bit of a laughingstock, even amongst the shallow knowledge pool of most tech analysts.
Instead of predicting the imminent arrival of a mythical Apple device, though, in Munster’s latest note, he’s making a far more reasonable prediction: When the iPhone 6 makes its debut September 9, only the 64GB model will ship with a sapphire glass display. And he’s got a call on the iWatch as well.
The sapphire prediction is not a contentious opinion. Despite earlier leaks, consensus seems to indicate Apple doesn’t have the manufacturing capabilities right now to ship every iPhone 6 with a sapphire glass display. In fact, the NPD Group said back in July that Apple was unlikely to ship sapphire glass displays for anything but the high-end iPhone 6.
This is the prediction Munster is now parroting to clients.
“We believe that Apple may upgrade the screen of the 64GB versions of the iPhone 6 to sapphire as an early market test to see consumer feedback for sapphire screen phones with the eventual intention of moving the whole product line to sapphire within 2 years (i.e., iPhone 7),” the analyst said in an investors report released Tuesday. “We believe that the 64GB device could make up 30 percent of units if sapphire were an additional feature based on our prior survey work from the iPhone 5S launch, which suggests that 25 percent of buyers opt for the 64GB capacity.”
Munster also believes that the iWatch has only a 50/50 shot of showing up at the September 9 event.
“Our rationale is that Apple seems less likely to launch a new product category alongside the phone when it could dilute some of the attention from the core product vs. launching alongside iPads, which are expected to get more modest updates,” he said. “Regardless, we believe that if the watch is not announced at the 9/9 event, it will be announced at an October/November iPad event and be available during the holiday quarter.”
And what about the Apple HDTV, or iTV? On that subject, Munster is uncharacteristically mum. Perhaps he’s finally given it up?