The iPhone has been struggling, and it doesn’t sound like this year’s launch will be what Apple needs to save it (AAPL)


Tim Cook Apple event iPhone X

  • Apple’s next iPhone is expected to be an incremental update, while the 5G smartphone the company will reportedly release in 2020 is said to be a bigger driver of growth, according to analysts.
  • Apple has been grappling with falling iPhone sales, and the company’s most recent earnings report indicates sales dropped by 12% in the fiscal third quarter of 2019.
  • This year’s iPhone will reportedly offer a new triple-lens camera and the ability to wirelessly charge other devices, while the 2020 version may be able to connect to 5G networks and could feature a 3D camera.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. 

Apple is likely gearing up to launch its next iPhone in September, which is expected to include new features like camera with three lenses and the ability to charge other devices.

But analysts seem to view the next-generation iPhone as an incremental update, while the reported 2020 5G iPhone  is expected to be a larger catalyst of iPhone upgrades.

Sales of the iPhone dipped yet again during its fiscal third quarter, dropping to $26 billion from $29 billion in the same quarter one year ago. It’s the third consecutive quarter Apple’s iPhone sales have dropped as it grapples with struggling sales in China and the trend of consumers holding onto their phones for longer periods of time.

Other than support for 5G network connectivity, which some Android devices already support, the 2020 iPhone is expected to have an improved 3D camera and may come in different screen sizes.

The comments from analysts about the 5G iPhone, which were circulated after Apple’s earnings report on Wednesday, align with previous analysis from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo, a well-respected Apple analyst, previously predicted that iPhone shipments could jump from between 65 and 70 million units this fall to between 70 and 75 million units in 2020, he said in a note obtained by 9to5Mac.

Here’s a look at what analysts are saying about the iPhone Apple is expected to release this fall and the 5G iPhone.  

SEE ALSO: I’ve been using Apple’s new iPad software for the past week — here are my 5 favorite things about it so far

Citi Research — The next iPhone is probably not going to be a “major upgrade”

Citi Research described the expected hardware upgrades for the 2019 iPhone lineup as “relatively muted” in a note authored by Jim Suva and Asiya Merchant.

“At this point the new phone lineup does not appear to be a major upgrade,” the note read.

Read more: AirPods have become a millennial status symbol, and Apple’s earnings suggest they could be its next big thing after the iPhone

Credit Suisse — The iPhone remains a “drag” heading into an “incremental” launch cycle.

Analysts at Credit Suisse also described this year’s iPhone launch as “incremental.”

“We’re encouraged as Apple continues to recover from a difficult start to the fiscal year; however, iPhone remains a sustained drag heading into what we view as a more incremental fall launch cycle,” read the note, which was authored by Credit Suisse’s Matthew Cabral, Dan Knauff, and Michael Allen. 

Canaccord Genuity — Things are going to get worse for Apple’s iPhone sales before they start getting better.

In a note authored by Canaccord Genuity’s T. Michael Walkey and Anthony Nemoto, the firm said it expects to see iPhone unit growth in 2020. It mentions the 5G iPhone in the context of driving higher iPhone sales.

“Given the continued near-term soft sales trends for the latest lineup of iPhones, we forecast a 12% year-over-year unit decline in C’19 iPhone sales and anticipate 10% unit growth in C’20 based on an increasing installed base driving higher iPhone sales including those from the anticipated introduction of the 5G iPhone next fall,” the note read. 

Raymond James — Don’t expect iPhones to grow again until the fall of 2020.

Raymond James believes the 2020 iPhone could return iPhone units to growth, the firm said in a note written by Chris Caso and Melissa Fairbanks.

“We continue to expect a weak iPhone cycle through June ’20, and while expectations are already low, we don’t see a catalyst until the Fall ’20 5G iPhones,” the note said. “But our upgrade earlier this month reflects our conviction that cycle (which we expect to include wide availability of 5G throughout the iPhone lineup) will return iPhone units to growth and repair the mix deterioration within the iPhone lineup. While that catalyst remains more than a year away, we have chosen to be early in our call.”

Morgan Stanley — Returning the iPhone to meaningful year over year growth is all going to hinge on the fall 2020 product.

A team of analysts at Morgan Stanley led by Katy Huberty views the reported 2020 5G iPhone as the impetus that could return iPhone sales to growth.

“We see the potential for meaningful multiple expansion as new Services re-accelerate growth and Apple approaches the September 2020 launch of 5G iPhones, which have the potential to accelerate upgrades and return iPhone to meaningful Y/Y growth,” the note read.