A Reuters headline has some Apple watchers scratching their heads.
- “Disappointing demand” for the iPhone between January and March is blamed for the 19% drop in the first-quarter revenue of Hon Hai, which assembles iPhones in its Foxconn factories.
- “Disappointing holiday sales” in the previous quarter are said to have “reinforced fears [that Apple] is losing its dominance in smartphones.”
First, the consensus among the 33 Wall Street analysts we polled in advance of Apple’s Q1 2013 earnings call was that the company would sell a record 47.6 million iPhones in the holiday quarter. Apple sold 47.8 million.
Since when is beating the Street’s consensus a disappointment?
Second, Hon Hai assembles a lot of devices for a lot of companies, including Dell DELL and HP HPQ , whose PC sales haven’t been doing so great. We have only the word one analyst — KGI Securities’s Ming-chi Kuo — that the shortfall in Hon Hai’s Q1 revenue was caused by the iPhone. We haven’t seen any statement to that effect from Hon Hai. Even Chinese news sites are quoting the Reuters report.
It’s possible that Reuters has put its finger on a real problem for Apple. We’ll find out in two weeks when the company reports its quarterly earnings. But it sounds more like the echo chamber of conventional wisdom, in which anything Apple does these days is described as a disappointment.