Analyst: Mixed signals across Apple’s iPhone supply chain

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From a note to clients by Cowan’s Karl Ackerman that landed on my desktop Wednesday:


Our field work in Asia late last week indicates smartphone-related names should perform okay in CQ3, but we are taking a more conservative tack on both premium-tier smartphones and China smartphones for CQ4. All told, we are lowering our estimates on QRVO (Qorvo) and SWKS (Skyworks Solutions) as we take a more conservative tack to DecQ/MarQ…

We think SeptQ should be fine with slight upside potential as our checks indicate Xiaomi and Apple builds are 4MM units better than our last forecast. Looking into CQ4, we are lowering estimates below Street. We are lowering our estimates as we take a more conservative tack toward AAPL and Samsung’s premium-tier units that should offset the upwardly-revised build plan at Huawei…

Based on our proprietary field work on the supply chain in Asia (conducted late last week), we’ve revised our iPhone builds for CQ3 up slightly to 48MM units from last month’s 47MM (up 14% Q/Q and 7% Y/Y). This should set up for a healthy CQ3. Looking into CQ4, we now feel more comfortable with an estimate of 80.5MM iPhones that includes a slightly larger weighting toward the LCD (XR) model.

Below: The iPhone XR, XS and XS Max mix as Ackerman sees it.

mixed signals supply chain

Click to enlarge. 

My take: Ackerman covers semiconductors for Cowan International, a London-based boutique investment firm. Cowan has not had an analyst covering Apple—or set an Apple price target—since Timothy Arcuri left for UBS last year.