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iPhone 13

Year of writing: 2021
Author: Tony

Apple's unremarkable iPhone 13 micro-upgrade

IPhone 13 micro-upgrade supply chain impact

Although most people think that the iPhone 13 has not changed much and has no surprises, some research institutes pointed out that the annual iPhone shipments in 2021 will reach 230 million, of which about 85 million iPhone 13 will be compared to the iPhone 12 sales in 2020 72 million, an estimated growth of 18%. The main reason for the growth was that the supply chain was affected by the epidemic last year. Although it was disrupted by the epidemic this year, it was relatively smooth and could meet market demand immediately.


This year, Apple’s improvements in iPhone specifications include upgrading from A14 to A15 chip, iPhone 13 Pro lens aperture increase, screen brightness and update rate increase, battery capacity increase, storage capacity increase, and maintaining Apple's colorful strategy in recent years. This article will observe this micro-upgrade from the perspective of the supply chain.

1. Upgrade A14 to A15

This time the iPhone 13 has been upgraded from the A14 processor of the iPhone 12 to the A15. It also uses the TSMC 5nm process, but there are 15 billion transistors on the A15, which is 3.2 billion more than the A14. Therefore, the guess is that the 5nm+ technology is used. Apple claims It is the strongest mobile phone system single chip. This time, another big point is that for the first time Apple has matched different processors based on grades. iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 pro use different specifications of processors. iPhone 13’s A15 processor GPU has 4 cores, Pro’s A15 processor GPU has 5 cores. It can provide creators and game players with a more extreme experience. TSMC is still taking all Apple A15 processors this time, but the A15 is not on the list of price increases, and it has changed from one SoC system single chip to two. It will increase the difficulty of capacity allocation and the learning curve will become slower. Apple accounts for 20~30% of TSMC’s revenue, and we must continue to observe changes in gross profit margins in the future.


2. Wide-angle lens upgrade

This time the lens aperture of the Pro series has increased, but the difference is not that big. The main lens and the telephoto lens maintain 7P. The ultra-wide-angle lens has been upgraded from 5P (5 plastic films) to 6P (6 plastic films). Liguang and Yujingguang share their food. The module factories are LG Innotek, Hon Hai, and Sharp. For Largan and Yujingguang, technological upgrades are expected to widen the gap with the second-tier manufacturers, and the gross profit rate is also expected to increase. In the past, high-end lenses Largan’s shipments account for more than 70%, and Apple accounts for about 45% of Largan’s revenue. This year’s ultra-wide-angle lens upgrades have the opportunity to increase the proportion of shipments and boost revenue.

3. Screen update rate

The iPhone 13 Pro maintains the OLED panel this time, with ProMotion technology, the screen refresh rate can reach 120Hz, and the screen brightness has also been increased to 1200nits. The main beneficiaries of the increase in screen specifications are the Korean manufacturer LGD (LG Display) and Samsung Display SDC (Samsung). Display), but this time BOE failed to enter the supply chain list at the initial stage, and if it is included in the future, it can lower the cost of iPhone.


4. Multi-sourcing strategy 9 colors iPhone

This time Apple launched 9 colors of iPhone in one go, including the pink, blue, and red of the iPhone 13, and the sky blue and gold of the iPhone 13 Pro. These special colors will increase the difficulty of the process and reduce the yield; not only that, It will be more time-consuming to color in the early stage of development, but because of the threshold formed by multi-color, it also provides an excellent moat for first-line manufacturers. In recent years, there has been a wave of institutional factory consolidation. Lens's acquisition of two factories in Taizhou, mainland China, and Pegatron's acquisition of Kaisheng, this strategy will enhance the overall competitiveness. The stainless steel frame of the iPhone is supplied by Hongzhun and Jabil under the Hon Hai Group. The aluminum alloy frame is supplied by Hongzhun, Jabil, and Lens. The glass back panel is supplied by Lens. Although these manufacturers hold large orders from Apple, their gross profit margin has also been reduced due to yield and bargaining power. It can only be seen whether Apple provides a better NRE (one-time development expense).

Five, increase battery capacity

According to the press conference, the battery life of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro Max is increased by up to 2.5hrs, and the battery life of the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 Pro is increased by up to 1.5hrs. This is due to the increase in processor performance and the increase in battery capacity. According to foreign media reports, The iPhone battery capacity is as follows, which will benefit the iPhone battery supplier ASP (average selling price). In the past, iPhone battery suppliers include Simpo, Saide, Xinwangda, etc.

iPhone 13

6. Increased storage capacity

In order to lay out a wider price range, Apple launched the 1TB option this time, and also cancelled the 64GB option. This allows Nand Flash flash memory manufacturers to increase sales capacity and ASP. iPhone Nand Flash suppliers include Samsung, Kioxia, and Witten , Micron, etc., the large-capacity iPhone will help increase overall revenue.

iPhone 13

Although the iPhone 13 is not upgraded this year, the supply chain has been reshuffled. Many Taiwanese factories have withdrawn and replaced them with the Lu factory. Investors can still find unlimited business opportunities under the premise of expected sales increase. Following the pace of a major revision in the past two years, next year’s iPhone 14 is even more exciting.

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