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Apple’s iPhone business may have already peaked

Dan Graziano
January 16th, 2013 at 8:58 PM
iPhone Upgrade Demand

Another firm has warned that Apple’s days of mobile dominance have come and gone. Andy Hargreaves and Corey Barrett of Pacific Crest said in a note to investors on Wednesday that Apple (AAPL) continues to face uncertainty with its long-term goals, Business Insider reported. The high-end smartphone and tablet markets are predicted to become over saturated sooner than previously expected, which will hurt Apple’s future growth and market share.

The analysts note that demand for “incremental” hardware improvements is waning and the company isn’t giving users incentives to upgrade from older iPhone models. Once the market for new iPhone buyers is maxed-out, and considering the supposed weak demand for modest upgrades, Apple’s smartphone business could struggle moving forward. The company’s tablet business continues to perform well, however, the inexpensive iPad mini is actually hurting Apple’s revenue and EPS growth, the analysts noted.

Hargreaves and Barrett argue that nothing is on the horizon to provide Apple with a jolt of growth, noting that a possible HDTV set will make less money and sell in smaller units than the iPhone, and a cheaper smartphone will only further cannibalize existing sales and profits.

These concerns have led the firm to downgrade Apple’s stock to Sector perform with a price target between $440 and $550 over the next 12 months.

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