Reported numbers suggest Apple is confident of weathering the economic storm

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(Image credit: Madmix)

Nevermind inflation and the shaky economy. The iPhone 14 could very well have a boom year. 

A new report from Bloomberg (opens in new tab) suggests that Apple is feeling bullish on demand for its imminent iPhone 14 handsets.

The site reports that Apple has ordered an initial batch of 90 million iPhone 14 units, for a total of 220 million smartphones in 2022. For comparison’s sake, this matches the initial number of iPhone 13s ordered in 2021 (despite fears of the superstitious avoiding it) and is higher than the 75 million ordered in years past.

If true, that’s a bold move in an environment where many rivals are scaling back their plans in the face of a bleak economic outlook. But where some see crisis, Apple sees opportunity, and the report claims that the company believes its “affluent clientele” will help it take advantage of this “dwindling competition.”

iPhone 14 demand: Optimism or realism?

On the face of it, this feels supremely overconfident. What makes Apple so confident it can continue to flourish if even its richest rivals are bracing for the worst? But there are a couple of reasons why this optimism might not be misplaced.

The first was touched on above: the affluent clientele. With the exception of the SE, iPhones aren’t cheap, and Apple may be right that the kind of person who buys the latest and greatest iPhone in the first quarter of its release will be unimpacted by rising prices elsewhere. 

The reported focus on making the iPhone 14 Pro more appealing than the regular model — with a faster processor, better camera and removal of the notch — may also be a tacit acknowledgement that Apple has to focus on its wealthiest customers this time around.

But even with the non-Pro iPhone 14, there’s a reason for Apple shareholders to be optimistic. The last two generations’ sales figures have been hamstrung by the reported disappointing retail performance of the mini iPhones. While the iPhone 13 mini is the best small phone you can buy, it seems extremely likely that the new 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max (or Plus) will be a far bigger seller for Apple — and, as a more expensive product, there will be more profit in it too.

All the same, this initial high order does make Apple an outlier, and it’s possible it’s underestimating the sheer scale of the imminent cost-of-living crisis. If that’s the case, expect the total number of handsets in 2023 to be well below the 220 million ordered in 2022.

We’ll know more about the iPhone 14 once Apple holds its Apple event this September, which has been predicted for September 6 or September 13. In the meantime, check out our iPhone 14 hub and iPhone 14 Pro hub for all the latest rumors and leaks. 

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