“For several years, Apple Inc. (AAPL) has been the world’s most valuable company based on market cap. Its rise largely has been driven by the wild success of the iPhone family of products,” Douglas A. McIntyre writes for 24/7 Wall St. “As worries increase about whether the iPhone 7 sold well over the holidays and can keep a quick sales pace until the iPhone 8 is introduced, probably late this year, challengers have a better chance to catch it than at any time in recent history.”

“Apple’s market cap is currently $618 billion, well ahead of Alphabet Inc. at $540 billion and Microsoft Corp. at $484 billion,” McIntyre writes. “Behind Microsoft, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has a market cap of $402 billion, and Exxon Mobil Corp.’s is $374 billion.”

“The Nikkei Asia Review recently reported that iPhone production in the first quarter of this year will drop 10%,” McIntyre writes. “That is because, according the analysis behind the article, iPhone holiday sales were slow. If Apple did not ship more than 70 million iPhones in the final quarter of 2016, investors likely will turn on the stock and could trigger a kind of brutal sell-off like the one that marked last spring.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, because Nikkei reports of “product cuts” have always led to missed iPhone unit sales expectations. Oh, wait, they haven’t.

Nikkei: Apple to decrease iPhone production 10% in first quarter of 2017 – December 30, 2016
Nikkei proclaims ‘iPhone 7’ Dead On Arrival; bemoans Apple’s ‘lack of innovation’ – May 12, 2016
Japan’s Nikkei, The Wall Street Journal blow it, get iPhone demand story all wrong – January 16, 2013
Did Apple reduce 4-inch Retina display orders due to improving yields? – January 15, 2013
Analysts: iPhone 5 demand ‘robust;’ ignore the non-news noise – January 15, 2013
Apple iPhone suppliers decline on report orders cut by 50% – January 15, 2013
Apple swoon erases $17 billion from stock market – January 14, 2013
Apple iPhone 5 production cut signaling a new product release? – January 14, 2013
Apple drops to 11-month low on old reports of component cuts – January 14, 2013
The strange math of Apple’s alleged massive iPhone 5 component cuts – January 14, 2013
UBS analysts: Apple iPhone component order reduction ‘old news’ – January 14, 2013
Apple pulls down U.S. futures – January 14, 2013
Apple shares drop below $500 after reported cuts in iPhone 5 parts orders – January 14, 2013