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Talk of the Day -- Apple to launch low-cost iPhone in 2013?

2013/01/04 21:49:20

Apple Inc. might launch lower-end smartphones this year, Deutsche Securities Asia forecast in its latest research report.

The institution further predicted that 80 percent of the incremental smartphone growth will come from emerging markets in 2013-14, with lower-end devices the dominant drivers.

The forecast echoed other recent media reports that the next wave of growth in the smartphone business will come from developing markets, where the iPhone is just too expensive for consumers.

Analysts largely believe Apple plans to make a cheaper iPhone to take some share in these markets, according to the reports.

Meanwhile, the Deutsche Securities report released Friday said the global technology market will see two other trends -- competition in the smartphone sector will intensify and increasing offerings of 7-inch tablets and 5.5-inch smartphones might lead to potential cannibalization between the two products.

Market research firm IDC also forecast recently that smartphone and tablet shipments will post 13 percent and 44 percent annual growth, respectively, this year.

IDC bases its optimistic tablet growth outlook on the release of a myriad of competing models, such as Apple's smaller, lower-cost iPad Mini and devices running Android or Microsoft operating systems.

With smartphone and tablet penetration in Taiwan growing steadily, mobile technologies, especially touchscreen and near field communication (NFC) sharing and pairing capabilities, will also enjoy increased penetration, IDC said.

It forecast that touchscreen penetration in notebooks will expand further in 2013 following the launch of Windows 8 last year and that the amount of NFC-enabled handsets is expected to increase by nearly 50 percent this year following a 36 percent annual growth the previous year.

Another information technology research firm, Gartner Inc., said smart TV development will accelerate this year, with smart TV sets accounting for 85 percent of overall production by 2016.

The following are excerpts from local media coverage of financial or research institutions' forecasts on technology market development trends in the new year:

United Evening News:

The latest Deutsche Securities report said post-PC products may face severe pricing pressure in the new year and that the PC-centric industry could experience consolidation.

Against this backdrop, the report said, investors might select Taiwan stocks based on three criteria: -- companies with a leading industry position/scale benefits that can better weather pricing pressure (such as Hon Hai Precision Industry and Simplo Technology); -- those whose long-term value could improve after industry consolidation (i.e. Synnex Corp.); -- companies that have made good progress in business transition (i.e. Delta Electronics Inc.)

On PC industry development, the report foresaw consolidation of PC OEM companies and the Chinese distribution industry.

Nevertheless, it gave only a "neutral" rating to major PC vendors Asustek of Taiwan and China's Lenovo as ultra-thin/touch-based notebooks should become more commoditized in 2013-14. This trend could prevent a further stock re-rating for these two names during the period, it predicted.

On Friday, Deutsche Bank Taiwan also released a report on Taiwan's stock market outlook for 2013.

The report maintains a positive outlook for the local bourse in 2013. As the Taiwan stock index is only 2.3 percent off its index target of 7,960 points, the bank expects both index upside and downside to be limited in the first quarter of the year. (Jan. 4, 2013).

Commercial Times:

Taiwan's three largest telecom carriers -- Chunghwa, Taiwan Mobile and Far Eastone -- will start selling the iPad Mini 3G and iPad 4 Cellular models next week.

Chunghwa will offer subsidies ranging between NT$6,000 and NT$8,000 for each iPad Mini and iPad 4 subscription, while Taiwan Mobile and Far Eastone will also offer attractive packages to attract Apple fans.

Meanwhile, Chunghwa officials said the company has sold 100,000 iPhone 5s since sales began last month.

All three telecom operators said they are confident of achieving iPad Mini and iPad 4 sales records. (Jan. 4, 2013).

(By Sofia Wu)