Channel checks in China suggest iPhone orders will be disappointing, Barclays says

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Wall Street and investors seem to see recent preorder and lead time data as a positive sign for iPhone demand in this cycle. Barclays says it’s too soon for investors to celebrate the good news. Analyst Tim Long wrote in a note on Monday that the latest channel checks show a difficult cycle ahead. The overall unit orders are 5% lower than last year and there is a 4% decrease in Pro units. He wrote that “early pre-order data from China continues to indicate a difficult IP15 Cycle with a negative shift in mix due to weakening consumers spend and macro pressure.” Comparing the two cycles is tricky, he said, given China’s opening last year and extensive discounts on iPhone 14 model phones during the first half of this year. This sentiment is contrary to recent bullish reports, and there are encouraging signs that latest preorder and lead time data could indicate resilient consumer demand. Morgan Stanley analysts said the data was “better than expected” in a report earlier this week. These expectations are perhaps a bit overly ambitious. Long said that he takes delivery time data with “a grain of salt.” He said that channel checks of actual orders placed in China were a better indicator of demand than delivery times affected due to production shortages or supply issues. AAPL mountain Apple’s performance in the last month Barclays has an equal weight rating for Apple. Long’s $167 target price implies a 6% drop from Monday’s closing. The average Wall Street price target suggests a nearly 12% increase in the share price. Long expects 48 million iPhones for the September quarter, despite the fact that Barclays’ estimate and the consensus expectations of 49 million are lower. He wrote: “We expect macro headwinds, the elongation and pullback of China consumers to create a difficult FY24. We will also face pressure on margins and