- If Apple were to somehow stop the sale of unlocked iPhones (by forcing customers to activate them at the point of purchase, say) the company might miss its target of selling 10 million iPhones in 2008 — and forgo even more revenue and profit.But if Apple does nothing, it gets hit with a double whammy. Not only are its healthy gross margins reduced (unlocked iPhones generate 50% less revenue for Apple and 70-75% less profit, according to Sacconaghi), but growing new markets overseas gets harder. If the company can’t stop the flow of unlocked iPhones into a country like China, what’s the incentive for a Chinese carrier to pay the stiff premium Apple demands for the right to be that country’s exclusive carrier?
Sacconaghi continues to believe — almost alone among major analysts — that Apple will have a hard time reaching its goal of selling 10 million iPhones in 2008.“In order to achieve this target,” he writes, “we expect Apple will have to lower the iPhone’s price, introduce new (likely lower-end) models, and/or forego revenue-sharing in certain geographies, all of which would compromise the iPhone’s economics.”Of course, it’s widely expected that Apple will lower the price and introduce new models this year. It remains to be seen whether it will have to do anything about those sweet revenue-sharing deals it’s been cutting with the carriers.