Another data point suggesting that Apple will have a strong December quarter …M-Flex, a supplier of flexible circuit boards used in smartphones and tablets, pre-announced stronger-than-expected results. (Revenue of $239 million versus a guidance range of $200-$230).
M-Flex is highly dependent on a few big customers, and Apple is thought to account for 66% of its sales.
Earlier this quarter, there were concerns about Apple’s iPhone 4S and iPad sales based on reports out of Asia. This led to a violent debate in the analyst community about whether Apple was having a supply or demand problem or both.
With respect to the iPhone, the most logical explanation appeared to be that flooding in Thailand had disrupted Apple’s supply chains, causing a crimp in its production. This would have explained both the apparently overwhelming demand (massive lines), as well as reports that sales were lower than expected.
(For the iPad, meanwhile, the logical explanation is that the iPad 2 is now getting long in the tooth and customers are beginning to wait for the iPad 3, which is expected to be released in a couple of months).
In any event, from M-Flex’s report, it sounds as though any production disruption has now been addressed.
M-Flex said that “supply-chain shortages from flooding in Thailand improved throughout the quarter.” This suggests that there were indeed production problems early in the quarter that have now been addressed.
This, combined with recent data showing that Apple’s share of smartphone sales in the U.S. exploded in October and November suggests that the iPhone numbers will be good. Analyst Gene Munster jacked his iPhone sales estimate to 30 million yesterday.
(via Eric Savitz)