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iPhone 15: Will Semi’s and Smartsens’ High-end CIS Market to Grow Significantly – Ming-Chi Kuo

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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As the official launch of the upcoming iPhone 15 comes nearer, the popular TF International Securities tech analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo has revealed another update about the device, owing to its biggest upgrade over its predecessors. Late last month,  the analyst, in one of his reviews, named TXC as one of the beneficiaries of the biggest iPhone 15 and iPhone 16 upgrades.

According to our market survey, the smartphone is expected to be released by September this year. Ahead of this date, Ming-Chi Kuo has highlighted that Will Semi’s and Smartsens’ high-end CIS market share is expected to grow significantly, as they are the biggest beneficiaries of the CIS industry bottoming out in 3Q23 and China’s domestic replacement coming to the devices. Ming-Chi Kuo’s prediction is based on the current situation and industry background which includes:

The wide camera CIS of the two iPhone 15 standard models will be upgraded to 48MP and adopt a new stacked CIS design. Due to the low yield rate, Sony has increased the CIS production capacity for Apple by 100–120% to meet Apple’s demand, resulting in a significant reduction in high-end CIS supply for Android.

The global CIS wafer reconstruction (RW) key supplier Tong Hsing’s earnings call pointed out that the bottom of the CIS industry is 3Q23.

China’s semiconductor industry policy continues to implement the domestic replacement strategy, which is the main reason why Tong Hsing is conservative in its future mobile phone CIS RW business (orders continue to be lost to Chinese competitors).

The current inventory in the CIS supply chain has improved to a normal level (10–14 weeks) from 30–40 weeks in 1H23.

AI visualization applications will be the other key to driving CIS growth in the long term. The most visible application at this stage is self-driving cars, and the next most likely is robotics.

Will Will Semiconductor benefit from a significant market share gain of high-end CIS in the next few years?

As Sony has reduced the supply of high-end Android CIS, brand vendors need to actively seek alternative solutions, benefiting Will Semi’s high-end CIS (64 MP+) order growth (since 2H23). Will Semi’s high-end CIS market share is expected to increase significantly from 3–5% in 2023 to 10–15% and 20–25% in 2024 and 2025, respectively, which is conducive to long-term revenue and profit growth. The current inventory level of Will Semi has improved to a normal level (about 12 weeks).

The cooperation between Smartway and Huawei will become closer:

Considering that more and more of Sony’s production capacity and R&D resources will continue to be occupied by Apple, Huawei will actively cooperate with Smartsens. Huawei’s 2H23 new high-end model (Mate) at the earliest can see Smartsens as a high-end CIS supplier.


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