The iPhone maker also said it plans to expand in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, and add hundreds of jobs in Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado, over the next three years. Apple said at the start of the year it would invest $30 billion in the United States, taking advantage of a windfall from U.S. President Donald Trump's sweeping tax code overhaul. The 133-acre campus in Austin will be less than a mile from Apple's existing facilities and initially have 5,000 employees.
Over the past few weeks, shares of Apple have been in something of a free fall, plummeting from an all-time high of $231 this past October to about $165 earlier this week. The reason behind the somewhat abrupt decline in value can be traced back to a November report claiming that iPhone XR demand is lower than anticipated and that Apple has slashed component orders. Since then, subsequent reports -- often sourced from supply chain rumors -- have all echoed the same point, namely that folks aren't picking up the iPhone XR in droves. While it's admittedly never a good idea to place too much stock in supply chain rumors, the chorus of reports pointing to lukewarm interest in the iPhone XR became impossible to ignore. The thing is, we've been down this road before. Over the past few years, there have been a number instances where rumors regarding sluggish iPhone sales have turned out to be completely off the mark, if not completely baseless. In light of that, a new report from Bloomberg relays that Apple's top two manufacturing partners -- Foxconn and TMSC -- both reported strong revenues for November. Specifically, both companies saw revenue surge by about 5.6% last month. In short, the hysteria surrounding iPhone XR demand may be just that: Hysteria. While we've seen financial reports from various iPhone component suppliers in recent weeks, data from Foxconn and TMSC is unquestionably far more instructive given that Foxconn is Apple's primary iPhone assembler and that TMSC is responsible for all of processors used in the iPhone. The report reads in part: > While reflecting just 30 days of business, TSMC's and Hon Hai's performance comes in the middle of the year's busiest quarter and may help balance the narrative that Apple's latest line-up -- particularly the cheapest iPhone XR -- is falling flat with global consumers. Hon Hai's November revenue of NT$601.4 billion ($19.5 billion) was a record for the month and takes January-November sales growth to almost 16 percent -- on track for its fastest pace of annual growth in years. Clearly, the sky is not falling and the iPhone XR may not be the dud many have made it out to be. At the very least, sales of pricier iPhone XS models are seemingly strong enough to offset any lower than expected demand in the iPhone XR. Unfortunately, there's a good chance we'll never get a firm grasp of how the iPhone XR is doing given that Apple will no longer release unit sales as part of its quarterly earnings report. The main takeaway, though, is that supply chain rumors are just that -- rumors -- and should be taken with a requisite grain of salt. It's especially important not to put too much stock in these rumors given that Apple often relies upon multiple component suppliers as a means to ensure plentiful supply and secure favorable pricing. To this point, it's worth revisiting the following Tim Cook quote on this very topic from a few years back. > Months of rumors about order cuts and so forth, so let me take a moment to comment on these. No comment on any particular rumor. > > I suggest its good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans. Even if a particular data point were factual, it would be impossible to interpret that data point as to what it meant to our business. The supply chain is very complex and we have multiple sources for things. Yields can vary, supplier performance can vary. There is an inordinate long list of things that can make any single data point not a great proxy for what is going on. Incidentally, shares of Apple are still trading below $170, and you can bet that Apple is buying up as many shares as it can. Looking ahead, with no iPhone unit sales set to be divulged, analysts will instead have to focus on Apple's overall revenue and profits as opposed to lazily keeping an eye on iPhone unit sales across a somewhat arbitrary three-month period.
Apple suppliers are reportedly considering moving iPhone production out of China if US tariffs on smartphone imports hit 25%, although the current production model will stay in place if the US levies only a 10% tariff on handsets. People familiar with the discussions tell Bloomberg that Apple plans to "sit tight" for the moment. The iPhone is assembled primarily in China, and various parts suppliers are also based in the region. While giants like Foxconn and Pegatron manufacture various iPhone models, the actual parts needed for assembly come from hundreds of suppliers, many based in China. Moving the entire supply chain out of China would be a daunting task. The report says that an Apple supplier suggested alternative locations for non-iPhone production, but Apple has indicated there's little need to make such a move for now. Donald Trump last month said that the US could hit China with a 10% tariff on smartphones and laptops, a move that would hurt Apple's best-selling product. The iPhone has been spared so far in the US vs. China trade war. The two countries are negotiating a trade deal that could scale back existing tariffs that were implemented this year, Bloomberg notes. Even if Apple is spared an iPhone import price hike, there's more bad news coming out of China. Qualcomm, who's fighting Apple in a complex legal war, has recently won an injunction against iPhones in the region. Furthermore, the arrest and detention of Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou prompted some Chinese companies to call for a boycott against Apple products. The daughter of Huawei's founder has been released on bail in the meantime. Should the US impose a 10% tariff on iPhone imports, Apple could eat the loss. That would amount to an earnings-per-share decline of just $1 next year, according to RBC analyst Amit Daryanani. A 25% tariff would lead to a drop of $2.50 per share, assuming Apple would absorb the loss.
Naturally, the biggest tech stock of them all, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), has been one of the market’s biggest losers. Over the past two months, AAPL stock has lost about 30% of its value. During this selloff, I have continually remarked on how the slump of Apple bears strong similarities to prior corrections of Apple stock in 2012-13 and 2015-16.
Last year, smart speaker sales went through the roof during the holidays. With this year’s holiday shopping season entering the final stretch, Apple is employing a rare tactic in an attempt to gain momentum: emailing HomePod discount codes to Apple Music subscribers. Once considered to be a product with the potential to be the next big thing for Apple, the HomePod smart speaker instead has suffered from rather underwhelming sales.
As much as I was eager to recommend that investors ignore the growing pessimism around Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) stock and follow Warren Buffett’s famous quote about being “fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful,” I just can’t do it, at least not for now. The red flags around Apple stock are just too numerous to ignore. Apple CFO Luca Maestri argued that the “number of units sold during any quarter has not been necessarily representative of the underlying strength of our business”, but that’s just an excuse.
Apple Music has notified artists that it will be phasing out its Connect social feed. Artists won’t be able to post to Connect anymore effective immediately, and their existing posts will be removed by next May, according to an email sent to artists that was first published by 9to5Mac Thursday. “Today we’re streamlining music discovery […]
"I understand that that may be hard for some people to believe," Munster concedes, "but, ultimately, I think that that's the trajectory that this company is on."
The major market indexes were lower after giving up early gains. The Dow was holding up best, thanks to several stocks including Procter & Gamble and Apple.
Egypt has warned it will take legal action against Apple if the US tech giant fails to remove alleged "restrictions" on local distributors within 60 days. A decree threatening action was published in the official gazette on Monday after accusations from Egypt's Competition Authority that Apple had violated the country's competition law. It said the company had "isolated the Egyptian market geographically" by restricting sales to distributors in the country from their counterparts abroad.