The iPhone 6S may not be doing as well as anticipated. Credit Suisse confirmed on Tuesday that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL) has lowered its November iPhone supply chain orders, according to a research note issued by the investment bank.
In response, Credit Suisse lowered its estimate for iPhone orders in the December holiday quarter to 70-75 million units and 45-50 million units in the March quarter. A note from the investment bank last month places the supply chain order cuts as high as 10 percent.
“The cuts seem to be driven by weak demand for the new iPhone 6S,” Credit Suisse analyst, Kulbinder Garcha wrote in Tuesday's note. “As we had highlighted in our research report ‘AAPL: Supply-Chain Cuts, Weakness, Then Opportunity,’ we do see a subdued iPhone cycle for the next few quarters.”
Credit Suisse’s revised projection comes in below Wall Street consensus estimates, which place iPhone orders for the holiday quarter at 78 million units. That compares to 74.5 million iPhones sold in the holiday quarter last year, an all-time record for Apple's smartphone sales.
While lower estimates could weigh down Apple’s stock price in the short term, Garcha notes that Apple’s iPhone unit sales may be boosted in the long term by customers opting for device installment plans over two-year contracts. Credit Suisse projects Apple’s global iPhone installed base to grow from 400 million users in 2014 to about 615 million by 2017.
Garcha also expects the introduction of a 4-inch “iPhone 6C” during the three-month period ending in March 2016 could help Apple add 62 cents to its earnings-per-share by 2017. Supply chain rumors point to the 6C taking on a metal case design and specs that resemble an “upgraded iPhone 5S,” according to a November research note issued by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.