Investors hunting for clues to the iPhone X’s reception can take a deeper look at its main manufacturing partners. And the latest doesn’t look good.
Apple Inc.’s five largest device assemblers reported a sharp slowdown after peaking at the end of last year, suggesting demand for the high-end device may have faded just a quarter after its release.
While Hai Precision Industry Co., Pegatron Corp. and three other key suppliers reported an 8 percent rise in their total sales across the March quarter, growth cratered later in the period — a drop that in the past has presaged a downturn for Apple.
The concern is that the iPhone X, while enjoying a customary holiday quarter spike for new-generation Apple gadgets, fizzled out rapidly. Apple’s costliest smartphone has struggled to draw customers in emerging markets, while competitors from Huawei to Xiaomi roll out more premium phones and dominate China — the U.S. company’s biggest foreign market. On Friday, Morgan Stanley cut its estimate on iPhone shipments by 6 million, underscoring the growing unease since Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the maker of iPhone processors, issued a disappointing outlook that triggered a 7 percent loss in Apple’s value over the past three days.
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