The iPhone X production cuts for the March quarter have been “worse than usual,” but Apple’s going to have a huge iPhone sales year in 2018?
These two things can’t both be true at the same time, but depending what you’re reading this morning, that’s what you’re going to hear about iPhone X sales and forecasts for the immediate future.
Yes, these are all reports from different analysts, so let’s start with the worst.
Seen by Business Insider, Longbow Research’s latest report paints a dire picture for Apple’s current state of iPhone affairs.
According to analysts Shawn Harrison and Gausia Chowdhury, iPhone X sales have not been that great during Christmas, and improvements aren’t expected for the first half of the year.
“The iPhone X didn’t sell well during the holiday season,” a supply chain source told Longbow. “We didn’t get as many 1Q orders as previously anticipated.”
“The cut for 1Q is worse than usual and worse than what has happened in prior years,” a person said. “The March quarter has been low and we’re expecting flat production year over year,” a different source added.
Even the ASP — or average selling price — of the iPhone is going to drop, as a result. “”The ASPs [average selling prices] were high during 4Q because of the X, but ASPs will decrease during the March quarter, since the share of the X has gone down.”
Analysts at Nomura, meanwhile, seem to corroborate this take iPhone X production for the first quarter. Nomura lowered iPhone X sales to between 8 million and 12 million, down from the previous 13 million estimate. “Many component suppliers for iPhone X have seen very low shipments since Feb, which could cause very low utilisation rate and poor mix for 1H18F,” analyst Anne Lee told customers in a research note.
The price is apparently to blame. “One factor that is likely suppressing the smartphone market is price,” Nomura analyst Jeffrey Kvaal said. “We see several indications the market elasticity is falling. Obviously, Apple’s iPhone ASPs have climbed from $645 in FY16; we model $742 in FY18. We do not believe it is coincidence that the highest end of the product portfolio, the X, is the model that is flagging.”
This brings us to Digitimes’ overly enthusiastic iPhone prediction, which says that Apple is getting ready to order 250-270 million smartphone panels for 2018. That’s crazy because it exceeds Apple’s best years by tens of millions of units — that’s assuming Apple would sell 270 million iPhones this year. Apple’s record is at 231 million iPhones (2015), but Apple only sold 216 million units last year.
Digitimes says Apple would buy 110-130 million OLED panels, including 70-80 million 5.9-inch units and 40-50 million 6.5-inch units. It’ll also purchase 6.1-million LTPS panels for a third iPhone to be released this fall, as well as 60-70 million panels for all the LCD iPhones it currently stocks, including the the iPhone 8, 7, SE, and older models.