Apple 2.0

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Katy Huberty is back from China with Apple news

May 8, 2013: 10:10 AM ET

Morgan Stanley's chief Apple watcher was visiting Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 9.59.28 AMFORTUNE -- In a note to clients Wednesday, Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty, just back from China, reports on "feedback" from Asian carriers and suppliers that she views as positive for Apple (AAPL).

She makes several points: (I quote)

  • After a slow start, iPhone 5 is now on track to meet carrier volume expectations.
  • iPhone 4 price cuts could stimulate incremental demand near-term.
  • Carriers see the opportunity for Apple to expand market coverage with 5-inch and lower-priced iPhones over time.
  • TD-LTE licenses, and related phone launches, are expected by year-end.

That last point may be particularly significant as it suggests that a contract with the last major Chinese iPhone holdout -- China Mobile (CHL), the world's largest carrier with more than 700 million subscribers -- could be signed before the end of the year.

Separately, Taiwan's DigiTimes reported Tuesday that China Mobile was expected to start an open-bid competition process as early as mid-May to procure equipment for 200,000 TD-LTE base stations for installation in 100 Chinese cities.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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