Apple (AAPL) Reportedly Behind Schedule in Development of the New iPhone, Analyst Cuts Price Target on Risk to June Quarter iPhone Revenue

May 25, 2022 6:01 AM EDT
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Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has asked its suppliers to expedite iPhone development after strict lockdown measures in China impeded the schedule for at least one of the new iPhones, according to Nikkei Asia.

China introduced new lockdown measures a few months ago as a part of its zero-COVID policy, which forced iPhone manufacturer Pegatron Corp. to temporarily shut down operations at its Shanghai and Kunshan assembly plants.

Some parts of Shanghai, China’s most populous city, still remain under lockdown as the country’s government intensifies its quarantine efforts.

Apple is now telling suppliers to speed up the development to make up for the lost time. The Cupertino-based titan is expected to present the iPhone 14, 14 Pro, 14 Max, and 14 Pro Max later this year.

“It is challenging to make up for the lost time. ... Apple and its suppliers are working around the clock to speed up development," an executive with an Apple supplier was quoted by Nikkei Asia.

Last month, Apple warned investors about significant headwinds ahead as coronavirus lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine continue to weigh on the tech giant’s operations. At worst, the headwinds could hamper the manufacturing schedule and affect the initial production volume of the new iPhones, according to the Nikkei.

In the meantime, Loop Capital analyst John Donovan estimates that the iPhone builds and shipments are lower than consensus through summer 2022.

The analyst forecasts that the overall builds will fall to 245 million, down 7-8 million from the prior build.

“Near-Term: CQ2 2022 builds to fall to 42M – more importantly Loop sees shipments trending to 41-43M – 9%-12% below current consensus. Medium-Term: CQ3 2022 builds to fall to 57M – more importantly Loop sees shipments trending to 50-51M – 3-5% below current consensus. Longer-Term: CQ4 2022 builds remain unchanged at 88M for now – current uncertainty globally to be more fully addressed in early July based on our findings,” Donovan said in a client note.

As a result, Loop Capital’s Ananda Baruah cut the price target on Apple to $180.00 per share from $210.00 to reflect likely lowered shipments.

“We believe that not only is Street likely set 4M - 6M high for June Q iPhones, we believe they are still setting the already March Q too high by 5M units (recall that AAPL does not report units, only revenue). While we see risk to June Q iPhone revenue, our work suggests Street remains low on iPhone revenue for the September and December Q’s given ASPs. Street remains materially low on ASPs for the June Q – December Q. For June this isn’t enough to make up for the unit shortfall; but it is (and then some) for the September and December Q’s,” Baruah wrote in a separate note.

On a more positive note, the analyst also added that ASPs are trending above the Street consensus.

By Senad Karaahmetovic

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