Apple analyst Brian White of Wall Street brokerage firm Drexel Hamilton has issued a research note to investors in which he estimates that Apple will reach a bottom in iPhone sales, and overall revenue and profit, in the third quarter of the 2016 fiscal year, a three-month period that ends in late June.
White claimed that all of Apple's supply chain partners that his firm tracks reported May sales that were "softer than historical averages" due to the slowdown, but he forecasted that the much-rumored iPhone 7 series will help Apple's smartphone business return to growth by the second quarter of fiscal 2017.
Until then, the bleeding isn't over. The firm estimated Apple will sell 38.5 million iPhones in the June quarter, down from 47.5 million in the year-ago quarter, followed by an estimated 41 million and 72.3 million sales in the September and December quarters respectively, both of which would also mark year-over-year declines.
White predicted that iPhone sales will then rebound to an estimated 56 million, 45.4 million, and 47.3 million in the subsequent three quarters, signaling a return to modest year-over-year growth throughout 2017. iPhone sales are estimated to reach 76.3 million by the first quarter of fiscal 2018, which would be a record breaker.
It was initially reported that Apple suppliers projected weak demand for the iPhone 7 series due to a "lack of innovation," with other market conditions to blame, but a subsequent report said Apple has asked suppliers prepare for the highest iPhone production target in "about two years."
Apple also reportedly increased iPhone SE orders last month due to strong sales, and the lower-priced 4-inch smartphone should help boost overall iPhone sales.
Mac sales are also expected to bottom out, but not until the second quarter of the 2017 fiscal year, when sales drop to an estimated 3.7 million compared to 4 million in the year-ago quarter. Mac sales are then estimated to reach 3.9 million, 4.4 million, and 4.44 million in the subsequent three quarters.
Given the current "gloom and doom" sentiment surrounding Apple reaching "extreme levels" this year, Drexel Hamilton believes the company's stock represents an "exceptional value." AAPL is currently trading in around the $98 to $100 range, while the firm has set a "buy" status with a price target of $185.
In April, Apple reported its first year-over-year decline in iPhone sales and quarterly revenue since 2003, and its third quarter guidance of between $41 billion and $43 billion in revenue, which would be up to 18 percent lower than the year-ago quarter, suggests that trend will continue through the first half of 2016.
Brian White is a longtime but somewhat infamous Apple analyst that currently serves as Global Head of Technology Hardware and Software at institutional brokerage firm Drexel Hamilton. He previously worked at investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald, where he held the same title, and Topeka Capital Markets.