Influential Apple analyst cuts iPhone shipment estimates

TF International Securities Apple analyst extraordinaire Ming-Chi Kuo delivered a less than stellar iPhone forecast this week with the straightforwardly titled note, “2019 iPhone shipments likely to be under 190 million units.” The letter puts the number of Apple handsets well below previous analyst predictions of 212 million for next year.

Kuo is largely regarded as the most influential analyst for the company, both with regards to sales figures and a stellar track record of predicting future products, thanks in part to relationships with Apple suppliers. His forecasts have the ability to impact Apple stock, which has already taken a hit this past quarter.

“The increase in orders of legacy iPhone models cannot offset the decline of XR and XS series shipments because of the low season impact,” Kuo writes in the note. The analyst also singles out the XR, which many anticipated would be a hit for the company, courtesy of a considerably low price point.

Of course, Apple’s not alone in this. The smartphone industry has seen an overall decline this past year. After years of explosive growth, things have begun to slow for many. In February, Gartner noted its first year-over-year decline since it began tracking the category. A perceived lack of upgrade-worthy features have contributed to a slow down.

That could ultimately be reversed, in part, by the arrival of 5G. A small number of companies have committed to bringing the technology to handsets next year, with Apple’s 5G handset expected to arrive in 2020.