Apple could have a rough year ahead, according to one analyst.
In a note to investors on Wednesday, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said that he’s revised down his estimates for iPhone sales in the company’s fiscal year 2019 from a range of 218 million to 220 million units to a new range of 210 million to 212 million units. Apple’s fiscal year runs from October through September.
Ives said that there are “headwinds” in Apple’s business, including “softer demand” for the company’s new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, according to his supply chain checks. He added that Apple’s own guidance for revenue in the first fiscal quarter was “softer” than he had anticipated and the company’s decision to stop sharing iPhone unit sales numbers can be viewed negatively. Meanwhile, Ives’ market checks suggest people who were planning to upgrade to a new iPhone this year are now waiting until Apple’s next fiscal year to see what it’s planning next.
“We ultimately believe Apple will need to seriously contemplate pricing changes and/or design changes with the next cycle of iPhones slated for the fall of 2019 to drive a surge of upgrade activity that has moved out of [fiscal year 2019] and into [fiscal year 2020],” Ives said.
Apple’s iPhone represents the biggest slice of its revenue, but its 2018 iPhones were met with some disappointment by customers who complained the upgrades were too minor and the prices too high. For its part, Apple (AAPL) has said that iPhone demand is strong, but the company’s decision to stop sharing actual unit sales is somewhat of a surprise.
Looking ahead, Ives said that he believes Apple is still a strong company and maintained his Outperform rating on its stock. However, he revised its 12-month price target from $310 to $275. Apple’s shares are currently trading at $174.24. Just a month ago, the stock was trading at $212.24.