Is iPhone 4 the Biggest Leap Since the Original iPhone? Analysts Say Probably.
The first analysts’ notes on Apple’s new iPhone 4 have begun rolling in and they sound a common theme: While not the revelation it might have been (for obvious reasons), the device may well be, as Steve Jobs claimed Monday, “the biggest leap since the original iPhone.”
“Yesterday, Steve Jobs unveiled, at his WWDC keynote, new iPhone 4 hardware and software,” said Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu. “While this was widely anticipated, we believe the rich features, refinement, and higher build quality are worth noting and difficult to comprehend without seeing and using the new iPhone first-hand. We believe the combination of a new form factor and software will likely serve as a powerful catalyst for iPhone 4 sales, as we have seen in the past with several AAPL products including the MacBook Pro, iMac, and iPod nano, to name a few.”
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster felt much the same way. “While the announced features of the iPhone 4 were as expected, the reality is this phone is significantly more advanced than the next best alternative,” Munster wrote in a note to clients. “We see the iPhone 4 as the most meaningful revision since the iPhone 3G two years ago. As such, we believe more existing iPhone users will be inclined to upgrade to the iPhone 4 than we saw with the iPhone 3GS.”
Munster notes as well that gee-whiz features like iPhone 4’s FaceTime video calling app, its HD video camera and iMovie video editing software are together creating an integrated experience that typically requires multiple devices. “The bottom line is the iPhone is taking unit and dollar share from other device categories,” he writes.
Indeed, it was hard to watch Apple’s (AAPL) demo of the device’s HD video camera working in concert with iMovie Monday and not think that it’s going to eat the Flip Video camcorder and Kodak’s (EK) Zi8 alive as soon as it arrives at market. And things don’t look much better for Google’s (GOOG) Android “superphones,” though obviously, there’s a much bigger battle to be fought there. Certainly, the company and its hardware partners have some serious work to do in the months ahead. (Yes, the EVO’s a great start. But its battery issues are troubling, as even HTC CEO Peter Chou conceded at D8 last week.)
Said RBC analyst Mike Abramsky, “Recent competitive Android smartphone launches by Android-powered phones have raised competitive intensity; however, to us, iMovie for iPhone (demonstrated at WWDC) may be illustrative of Apple’s advantage in vertical integration (software/ hardware). We expect Apple to launch other ‘Super Apps’ on iOS that advantage the platform (multimedia, geo-positioning, touch interface, etc). Bing introduction on iOS may portend a further shift away from reliance upon Google for mobile search….The ‘repositioning’ of Apple’s iPhone OS–to iOS–at WWDC accelerates Apple’s (re)assault to lead personal computing, as the industry evolves to mobile.”