The Art of Reading iPhone Lead Times

The Art of Reading iPhone Lead Times

  • At 8:00 AM ET today, Apple began taking pre-orders for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro.
  • Over the past three years, we have observed pre-order lead times shorten. For example, two years ago in September of 2018, by 10:00 AM ET, the iPhone XS and XS Max lead times were 2-3 weeks, and compressed further in the fall of 2019.
  • While connecting lead times to demand is more art than science, over the years we’ve noted extending delivery times have historically been a favorable indicator of demand.
  • A cautionary factor in interpreting lead times: we don’t have visibility into iPhone supply.

Early pre-order data points

  • As of Noon ET, iPhone 12 Pro lead times ranged from 7-10 days to 2-3 weeks depending on color, capacity, and carrier. iPhone 12 (all colors and capacities) has consistently shown the original Oct. 23rd delivery date.
  • While difficult to measure, throughout the morning we observed slow website speeds on iPhone pre-order pages. This is in contrast to other pages on Apple.com that we observed were running at regular speeds.

Takeaways

  • We remain comfortable with our FY21 iPhone revenue growth estimate of 15% (essentially in line with the Street), compared to about 1% growth in FY20.
  • Early indications suggest the iPhone 12 Pro will be more popular than the iPhone 12. Once again, early buyers like the latest and greatest.
  • The most popular iPhone 12 Pro model appears to be the 128GB Pacific Blue priced at $999. As a point of reference, this quarter we’re modeling for an overall iPhone ASP of $818, and continue to feel comfortable with that estimate.
  • The consistently slow speeds on the pre-order pages are likely a sign that consumer traffic on these pages continues to be high.

Methodology

We checked iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 lead times 8 times between 8:00 AM and Noon ET. Reflecting on lead times is not a science, given we don’t know how many phones Apple is able to produce. That said, longer lead times have historically been an indicator of healthy demand and shorter lead times an indicator of softer demand.

Disclaimer

Apple