Apple Inc. will release a new iPhone this week, and Wall Street will be watching the firm for signs of growth, or its opposite. The firm’s iPhone 6 brought an incredible level of sales growth to Cupertino, and those with shares are trying to forecast whether that’s possible this time around. New leaks from the supply chain appears to show weakness in the sales outlook.
A new report from Digitimes, which has a spotty record for supply chain info, says that Apple has ordered parts to make and sell 45M to 50M iPhone units in the third quarter. The firm itself guides for sales in that range, but Wall Street is expecting more from Apple, and that could hurt shares on the next earnings release.
Forecasting Apple iPhone sales
Apple didn’t give exact guidance on iPhone sales for the third quarter. The firm said that it expects to make sales of between $49B and $51B in the months ahead. That implies iPhone sales in the high 40Ms. The Digitimes 45M-50M number is in line with that, but many on Wall Street are looking for a lot more from Apple.
Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley reckons that Apple will sell 53M units of the iPhone in the third quarter. The research firm’s AlphaWise Smartphone Tracker gave support to that number in a September 6 report.
UBS’ Evidence Lab came up with a similar number. Steve Milunovich, who works on Apple for the Swiss bank, says that the firm will sell 53.9M phones in the three months through September if his numbers are correct.
Most analysts seem to be clustered in the 49-50M unit range. They’re looking for Apple to do better in the third quarter than in the second, following a precedent set many years ago. If the Digitimes numbers are right, that forecast would stretch the edge of Apple’s own numbers.
Demand may be too slack to get to 49M, and, assuming truth in the report, it’s not likely Apple will hit the numbers set by Huberty and Milunovich.
iPhone 6S sales growth expected
Though the third quarter numbers appear set to disappoint Wall Street, the numbers from the final three months of the year are strong. The same report from Digitimes relays Apple plans to make 70-80M units of the iPhone 6S in the fourth quarter. That means that sales of the firm’s smart phone may actually grow in the year ahead.
There is a split on that matter among those on Wall Street. Few have put a sales model for the twelve months through September 2015 in the public eye, but most have given their opinion on whether Apple will be able to grow sales in the year ahead.
Sherri Scribner of Deutsche Bank, in a report published on July 6, said that sales of the smart phone have peaked. Scribner said that sales in the segment at Apple would come in lower than those across the global phone market in the next twelve months after so many people bought an iPhone 6.
Apple will show off the iPhone 6S for the first time on Wednesday September 9. Ming Chu Kuo, the analyst who knows more about the firm’s supply chain and future products than any other, reckons that though the features will be great, sales will be poor.
He reckons that the firm will not be able to match the sales it recorded last year in the most likely case. We’ll have to wait and see how Apple does in the fourth quarter in order to get a clear picture. Until then leaks from Digitimes and forecasts from Wall Street are worth only a blurry picture of Apple’s future.