Model 3 could be Tesla's iPhone moment

There was plenty of hoopla last week over Apple's latest iPhone launch. Meanwhile, in automotive circles, many are calling Tesla's Model 3 something akin to the iPhone of cars. According to Barron's, Wall Street analyst Toni Sacconaghi at Bernstein feels that "cars, digital music, and smartphones, [were] led by 'breakthrough' products like the Model T, the iPod, and the iPhone. In predicting a fast adoption track for electric vehicles, Sacconaghi puts the Model 3 in the same camp as those landmark products."


Above: Tesla's ultra-sleek Model 3 (Reddit: _-STiG-_)

Drilling down to the iPhone analogy, Bernstein writes that, "Empirically, disruption often happens faster than incumbents and investors think and is often triggered by a breakthrough new offering... For example, smartphones existed prior to iPhone (e.g., Palm, Blackberry, etc.), but it wasn't until Apple introduced iPhone that smartphones became mass market. We believe Tesla's Model 3 offering is that breakthrough product for EV adoption."


Above: Pure S3X — Model 3 is the new centerpiece within Tesla's electric vehicle line-up (Instagram: rogeronline2014)

In addition, one of the first lucky Model 3 owners compares it to — you guessed it — the second coming of the iPhone. Teslarati reported that Silicon Valley angel investor Jason Calacanis, "describes his gorgeous red Founders Series Model 3 as 'a masterpiece' that drives like a Porsche but at one-third the cost." He also calls it one of the greatest tech products ever created, "right alongside the PC/Mac & the smartphone/iPhone" — quite the endorsement.

Above: Silicon Valley angel investor, Jason Calacanis, is definitely pleased with his Model 3 (Twitter: @jason)

Of course, the Tesla = Apple comparison has been made many times before. Even one of the Apple's most renowned analysts on Wall Street, Gene Munster, has said that, "we will eventually look back at the launch of the Model 3 and compare it to the iPhone, which proved to be the catalyst for the shift to mobile computing... Looking back at the iPhone in 2007 it was a stretch to envision the company producing 50m phones a year, but in 2015, the company sold 232m units." 


Above: Ben Sullins compares the rise of Apple's iPhone with what may be coming via Tesla's Model 3 (Youtube: Teslanomics)

That said, Ben Sullins at Teslanomics, breaks down Munster's assumptions and notes that Android actually owns the lion's share of the market — iPhone only has 13.8% marketshare. Nevertheless, Sullins admits, "This hasn’t stopped Apple from becoming the world’s most valuable company, however, with a current market cap of over 800B dollars... [therefore] if the Tesla Model 3 can pull this off, the bigger impact on the world won’t necessarily be all to [Tesla's] benefit. Rather, we will all benefit as every other car maker will need to change their ways. Otherwise [they'll] face the same fate as the Motorolas, Nokias, and Blackberries of the world."