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Apple: No iPhone ‘SuperCycle,’ Says Raymond James, But Higher Prices

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Apple: No iPhone ‘SuperCycle,’ Says Raymond James, But Higher Prices
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It’s Tuesday, so it must be time again to check in on the supply chain for Apple
’s (AAPL) iPhone X
.

The bad news, for Apple, is the Street is still pondering the potential for some additional delays
in the production of the device, which is slated to go on sale on October 27th.

Among news items, the Nikkei Asian Review
relates
that Apple is “facing problems with the production of 3-D sensors for facial recognition” in the iPhone X. The publication cites remarks from two unnamed executives of Apple suppliers who state that “3-D sensor part makers are still struggling to reach a satisfactory level of output, and to boost their yield rate” and one of the sources “said that iPhone X was being churned out in small quantities, around some tens of thousands daily.”

BlueFin ResearchPartners analysts John Donovan
and Steve Mullane
write that their research into Apple’s supply chain has so far not turned up anything suggested the massive shortfall in sales of the other model, the iPhone 8, as some analysts had claimed.

Furthermore, “We have yet to uncover any evidence of component orders being reduced or shifted markedly, but expect build adjustments in next official update based on muted early iPhone 8 sales.”

They specifically dispute a report from DigiTimes yesterday, in the post linked to above:

Despite the DigiTimes “report” of component orders either being delayed, shifted, or flat-out reduced, we have yet to uncover a single case of a component company seeing its orders changed or reduced, with the notable exception of some clarification of share based on performance. Any potential component order changes would take place after a modification of build plans, which we believe is slated for later this week. We do believe some level of reductions are likely, based on the reportedly muted initial iPhone 8 sales. In any event, we anticipate getting an update shortly to decipher the true nature of any shifts in builds and component orders.

Chris Casowith Raymond James
, who had warned last week about some potential iPhone X delays, repeats that charge today: “While the industry widely anticipated a shift in iPhone production timing, our checks suggest there is an incremental delay in the iPhone X build plans, with iPhone X production commencing several weeks later as compared to the expectation in August.”

Interestingly, Caso’s colleague Tavis McCourt
, who follows Apple stock and rates it Outperform, raises his price target to $180 from $170, given that he thinks there will be “ no supercycle
,” this year, as others had expected.

Instead, McCourt thinks Apple’s sales will be pushed out by the delays that Caso suggests, and that Apple will have to look to 2019 for a jump in sales volume.

But, he also thinks average selling prices will go higher because of a preference for the iPhone X over the 8:

Our Semiconductor analyst Chris Caso published a note last week indicating that iPhone X builds would not start until mid-October. We had largely built this into our forecast back in April, and we have been 10-15% below Street consensus for the December quarter ever since […] We are lowering our FY18 unit outlook from 260 million to 240 million but increasing our GM and ASP assumptions based on a detailed analysis of new iPhone price points and our assumption of mix.

Shares of Apple today are up $2.30, or 1.5%, at $152.85.

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