Apple analysts have a long history of misreading weak iPhone demand based on supplier rumors

“Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: An Apple analyst cuts iPhone shipment estimates based on weak supplier guidance, sendingthe company’s stock tumbling,” Sara Salinas reports for CNBC. “That’s the situation Apple was in Monday. Shares fell 5 percent, leading the overall market to painful declines, after iPhone supplier Lumentum cut its outlook.”

“The regular concerns around iPhone demand have become close to routine for Apple as global smartphone sales slow and upgrade cycles grow longer,” Salinas reports. “Apple beats consensus estimates for shipments anyway most quarters.”

I would suggest it’s good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans and also stress that even if a particular data point were factual, it would be impossible to accurately interpret the data point as to what it meant for our overall business because the supply chain is very complex. And we obviously have multiple sources for things, yields might vary, supplier performance can vary, the beginning inventory positions can vary. I mean, there’s just an inordinate long list of things that would make any single data point not a great proxy for what’s going on. – Apple CEO Tim Cook, 2013

Salinas reports, “If history is any guide, analysts and investors tend to get unnecessarily spooked over one-off iPhone supplier rumors, just to be proven wrong after Apple discloses sales.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Same as it ever was.

Apple has a plan as iPhone demand peaks; many suppliers don’t – November 13, 2018
Ming-Chi Kuo trims iPhone XR lifecycle unit shipment estimates by 30 million – November 12, 2018
iPhone XR production cuts not due to soft demand – analyst – November 10, 2018
Apple’s Asian suppliers fall on report of canceled iPhone XR production boost – November 6, 2018
Nikkei claims iPhone XR production cuts, Apple stock drops over 3% – November 5, 2018
Jefferies: Buy Apple stock for ‘massive’ services potential built on ‘stable iPhone business’ – November 2, 2018
Apple to stop reporting iPhone, Mac, and iPad quarterly unit sales – November 1, 2018
Apple beats Street with another record-breaking quarter – November 1, 2018
Apple’s revolutionary iPhone X was the world’s best selling smartphone in Q118 – June 14, 2018
Nikkei again claims ‘weak demand’ for iPhone X despite much evidence to the contrary – February 20, 2018
iPhone X drives smartphone revenue dominance; Apple made more money in Q417 than the rest of the smartphone makers combined – February 16, 2018
Apple iPhone took more than half of worldwide smartphone revenue share in Q417, a new record – February 15, 2018
Apple supplier says report of iPhone X production cuts was overstated – January 30, 2018
Another January, another misleading iPhone supply cuts story from Nikkei – January 29, 2018
Apple stock drops after Nikkei report of iPhone X production cut – January 29, 2018
Canalys: Apple shipped 29 million iPhone X units in Q4 2017; world’s best-selling smartphone over the holiday season – January 23, 2018
Reports of Apple cutting iPhone X orders make no sense – January 2, 2018
Apple stock tumbles on one poorly-sourced report of low iPhone X demand – December 26, 2017
Apple and suppliers shares drop on report of weak iPhone X demand – December 26, 2017
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


  1. Salinas reports, “If history is any guide, analysts and investors tend to get unnecessarily spooked over one-off iPhone supplier rumors, just to be proven wrong after Apple discloses sales.”

    Well thank goodness Apple discloses sales then… oh wait, they’re not doing that anymore.

        1. Actually no. In finance, “sales” almost always refers to revenues. Those terms are interchangeable. The reason being that units require an ASP to get to “sales” or revenues. There is no line item for units in an income statement, it’s “sales” ie revenues. Apple has always, in the past, issued an extra table, with units. None of the other tech companies do that.

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