KGI Securities’ mysterious analyst scores 44% in Apple 3.0’s first-ever analyst truthiness test.
AppleInsider refers to him as “noted” and “well-connected.” 9to5Mac has taken to using the honorific “reliable.” MacRumors calls him “the respected Ming-Chi Kuo.”
Others take a dimmer view of what Kuo does. Asymco‘s Horace Dediu calls it industrial espionage.
We know almost nothing about KGI Securities’ star Apple analyst except that he has made dozens of bold, often quite specific predictions about future products over the past six years. MacRumors lists 91 of them, starting at DigiTimes in April 2010.
Kuo’s most recent prognostication, as reported by 9to5Mac, is that the iPhone 7 will lack “attractive selling points” and that Apple’s flagship will end 2016 as the only top-five smartphone brand to register a year-over-year sales decline.
Do we believe it? Just how reliable is the reliable Mr. Kuo?
To try to shed some light on that, I’ve subjected Kuo’s predictions to what I’m calling the Apple 3.0 truthiness test, rating the accuracy of his past predictions on a scale of 0 to 100.
I didn’t test all 91 in the MacRumors list, but I tried to pick out a representative sample from the past two years, starting with…
Oct. 1, 2015
- Prediction: ‘iPad Pro’ expected this fall, will get Force Touch from new pressure-sensitive Apple stylus
- What happened: The iPad Pro arrived in the fall as predicted with a pressure-sensitive Apple “pencil,” but not 3D (aka Force) Touch
- Truthiness: 75%
April 22, 2015
- Prediction: Apple ‘unlikely’ to launch new 4-inch iPhone model this year (2015)
- What happened: Apple launched the 4-inch iPhone in 2016
- Truthiness: 100%
April 2, 2015
- Prediction: Force Touch expected to bring about the “most significant change yet“; so significant that the first iPhone with it could be named the iPhone 7, not the iPhone 6s
- What happened: The iPhone was called the 6s, as expected, and Force Touch has yet to prove its significance
- Truthiness: 25%
February 6, 2015
- Prediction: Investors should brace for 50% year-over-year drop in iPad sales in fiscal Q2 2015
- What happened: iPad unit sales fell 23% year over year
- Truthiness: 50%
Nov. 24, 2015
- Prediction: iPhone Shipments Expected to Rise to 71.5 Million Units in Q4 2014, Drop to 49.4 Million Units in Q1 2015
- What happened: Apple shipped 74.5 million iPhones in calendar Q4 2014 and 61.2 million in calendar Q1 2015
- Truthiness: 25%
July 13, 2014
- Prediction: Apple’s 5.5-inch ‘iPhone 6’ faces production issues, launch may be pushed to 2015
- What happened: The iPhone 6 launched in the fall of 2014, as expected
- Truthiness: 0%
April 9, 2014
- Prediction: Apple to sell two sizes of iWatch with flexible AMOLED displays this fall, prices to reach ‘thousands of dollars’
What happened: The Apple Watch came in two sizes at prices that reached thousands of dollars, but it wasn’t sold until the following spring and did not have flexible displays.
The idea here is not to pick on one particular analyst, but to find a way to hold the Ming-Chi Kuo’s of the Apple world to some kind of objective standard.
This is my first stab at something I haven’t seen done before. If you see a better way to do it, I’m open to suggestions.
UPDATE: I’ve upgraded Kuo’s score to 44% from 41% thanks to reader Keith Hope’s correction in the comment stream. See also the 2015 Cult of Mac profile he spotted, with its rare photos of Kuo, some even more over-the-top encomiums (“the best Apple analyst on the planet”), and a pretty good evaluation of the accuracy of his earlier forecasts.