One of the big reasons Apple’s stock has been demolished since September is concern about iPhone sales.There have been a multitude of reports saying Apple slashed its Q1 iPhone parts orders significantly. The Wall Street Journal blamed the cuts on “weak demand.”
This suggests Apple is going to have an atrocious iPhone quarter for the January-March period.
Here’s some mild relief for concerned investors. There’s a new report today that says it won’t be atrocious, but it won’t make anyone feel better about the iPhone business.
DigiTimes says suppliers estimate they will ship 37 million iPhones this quarter. Of that, 20 million will be iPhone 5s. DigiTimes was one of the first places to report Apple’s iPhone order cut. It’s generally pretty plugged into the supply chain.
If this is accurate, and it holds, it’s about in line with what people are expecting. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says investors are expecting about 37.5 million iPhones for the first quarter.
If Apple sells 37 million iPhones, it’s 5% year over year growth, which is not strong. In last year’s March quarter, iPhone unit growth was 88%. (iPhone unit growth is expected to be ~30% on a year over year basis for the holiday quarter.)
This is the big concern for Apple. Pacific Crest recently issued a report saying the market for the iPhone as Apple currently sells it is reaching a saturation point. Only so many people around the world can afford the iPhone. If growth falls to 5% it would confirm the biggest fear of investors.
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