iPhone Delays Raise Red Flags On Wall Street

Rogers Communications Chief Executive Joe Natale said Thursday (Oct. 19) that demand for the iPhone 8 has been “anemic,” piling on to reports that Apple is seeing lackluster sales for its latest devices.

According to news from Reuters, Natale, which runs Canada’s largest mobile network, said there is high anticipation for the iPhone X but that production and thus inventory will be limited. The iPhone X becomes available on Nov. 3 and starts at a price of $999. 

The comments on the part of Natale adds fuel to debate on Wall Street over demand for the iPhone 8. Many Wall Street analysts have defended Apple, saying production is in line with previous expectations.

However, a story from Taiwan’s Economic Daily newspaper reported that Apple told suppliers of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus that it will cut orders for components by as high as 50 percent during the last three months of 2017. The Economic Daily stated that the reduction in component orders could result in iPhone 8 device shipments of as low as  5 million to 6 million units per month in November and December. Thus, concerns about demand for the iPhone 8 weighed on shares in trading on Thursday (Oct. 19).

Apple is partly to blame for the guessing game happening in the stock market. The company no longer provides updates on sales numbers outside quarterly earnings reports, which leaves analysts having to do their own sleuth work. The lack of information on Wall Street has prompted reports that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are off to a sluggish start.  

As for the iPhone X, concerns abound that the high price tag could keep iPhone owners from upgrading. Natale of Rogers Communications noted in the Reuters report that at $999, the iPhone X is an expensive device.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that earlier this month the U.S. wireless carrier, AT&T, said third-quarter postpaid handset upgrades were down close to 900,000 from a year ago.  KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst John Vinh said in a research report earlier this week that a survey of wireless carriers suggests the iPhone 7 is outselling the iPhone 8 a month after it hit store shelves.