Making its way around the Web today: A research report from earlier this week by FBR analyst Craig Berger, who says that Apple has recently cut its iPod, iPhone, and MacBook “build plans” — in other words, the number of units it plans to manufacture during the quarter.
Specifically, Berger says Apple has cut its iPod and iPhone build plans 60% from calendar Q4 to Q1, more than the 50% q/q cut Berger previously estimated. He also says Apple has cut its calendar Q1 MacBook build forecast 50% q/q, which he previously estimated at closer to 35% q/q. Meanwhile, he says the company has increased iMac build units 35% q/q, which he previously estimated would be flat q/q.
It’s important to note that Berger’s initial order drops of 50% weren’t based on slackening demand — they were made well in advance, because Apple’s seasonal sales drop from CQ4 to CQ1. But if Berger’s channel sources are right, these incremental cuts are certainly bad news.
Why? Because they likely mean one of two things: either Apple had too many post-Christmas leftovers, or — more likely — that current sales are now looking soft. The latter shouldn’t be a huge surprise, given that the company has already issued disappointing March quarter guidance, but there’s no way to spin new cuts as good news.
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