KGI: Improved iPhone X Shipping Estimates Due to Better-Than-Expected Production, Not Weak Demand
Steady improvements in iPhone X supplies that have seen shipping estimates fall to 1-2 weeks are due to better-than-expected improvements in production since the device's launch, rather than any weakness demand, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who shared the information in a new research report obtained by MacRumors.
According to Kuo, who frequently shares accurate information from Apple's supply chain, iPhone X production issues "have been well addressed" in recent weeks, with Foxconn's production now at 450,000-550,000 units per day compared to just 50,000-150,000 a month or two ago as Apple geared up to launch the device.
Two of the primary bottlenecks that contributed to tight supplies of the iPhone X have largely been resolved, according to Kuo, with Career quickly making up for lost time after Murata was unable to provide LTE antenna components as originally planned and LG Innotek and Sharp seeing improved yields for the dot projector module of the TrueDepth camera.
(1) Hon Hai’s daily shipments of iPhone X have climbed to 450-550k units, up from 50-150k units 1-2 months ago; (2) shipments of Career’s LCP LTE antenna will likely grow 100% MoM in both November and December; and (3) production yield of Dot projection module, made by LG Innotek (KR) and Sharp (JP), has moved quickly above 80-90% or higher from below 60% 1-2 months ago.
As a result of the improved production, Kuo believes iPhone X shipments in the fourth calendar quarter could be 10-20 percent higher than he previously estimated, with some orders previously estimated as shipping in the new year being pulled in and shipped before the end of the quarter. That acceleration means Kuo is predicting that iPhone X shipments in the first quarter of 2018 will be flat or slightly lower compared to the fourth quarter.
Apple's financial guidance for the current quarter points toward record performance, suggesting the company is confident any production troubles have been resolved and that demand for the high-end iPhone X will be strong throughout the quarter.