What's Up With Apple: More iPhones on the Way, Epic Soap Opera, and More

When Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reported September-quarter earnings, CEO Tim Cook said supply chain issues could cost the company about $6 billion in December-quarter revenue. Since then, reports of production cuts were plentiful, and last week, a report on softening demand appeared to confirm Apple’s woes.

A report Tuesday morning from Taiwan-based DigiTimes cited by MacRumors claims that Apple has increased its planned iPhone shipments by 30% for the first half of 2022 and that the company’s shipment goal for all of next year is more than 300 million iPhone units. That total includes the next iteration of the iPhone, likely to be introduced at Apple’s annual fall event in September or October.

If DigiTimes’ report is accurate, one of two things (or both) must be happening. One, Apple has solved its supply chain issues and believes demand will return. Two, Apple believes the next iPhone will be an even bigger seller than the iPhone 13. Our vote is that both are true.

In the seemingly never-ending saga of the Apple-Epic Games legal battle, recall that Apple last week filed a brief seeking relief from an injunction that would require the company to allow app developers to include buttons and external links that customers could use to make purchases outside the App Store. If the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals does not grant Apple’s request, the company will have to have those buttons and external links working by Friday morning.

Reuters had a report out late Monday describing briefs from a group called the Coalition for App Fairness supporting the trial judge’s injunction forcing Apple to adopt the new payment system. As it happens, Apple has, Reuters says, called the coalition “an Epic alter ego – a sort of Frankenstein monster, created by Epic for the very purpose of influencing this litigation.”

The trial judge, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, agreed with Apple and that led to another brief from Epic’s legal team claiming that the coalition is not “in any way controlled, funded, or influenced by Epic.” Then Epic’s lawyers “deleted” that brief and submitted a revision that said that the coalition was not “singularly controlled by Epic.”

Reuters reporter Alison Frankel asks the right question: Will any of this matter to the Ninth Circuit? Her answer is, not likely. Stay tuned.

Briefly noted:

Morgan Stanley Apple analyst Katy Huberty raised her 12-month price target on Apple stock from $164 a share to $200, equaling the current street-high target set by Wedbush. Apple closed at $165.32 on Monday and traded up by about 1.8% in Tuesday’s premarket trading session at $168.44. The stock’s 52-week high is $170.30.

One of Apple’s holiday traditions is to make it snow on your iPhone screen if you type the magic words into the App Store for iPhone and iPad. Macworld has the secret words.