Order Down: More iPhone supply chain nonsense

19 November 2018

An occurrence has occurred! You know what that means: Apple’s on borrowed time!

Okay, maybe that’s not exactly the thought process Ewan Spence employs when he decides to write things, but it’s pretty close.

“Poor iPhone Sales Expected As Suppliers Fight Apple's Serious Cuts”

Oh, dear heaven.

Apple has pushed a message of innovation and excellence with the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max smartphones. That confidence isn’t being picked up by consumers, and more signs are appearing that sales of the 2018 handsets are falling below Apple’s expectations.

To what is Ewan referring? Supply chain reports, of course! Because those are always indicative of a product’s success.

These “signs” show up and this concern is trumpeted every single year. And every single year, iPhone supply chain woes are demonstrably shown to be unfounded and wholly pointless. Congratulations to Ewan for continuing to feed this narrative in the face of annual refutation.

Here’s what Ewan said on 1 January 2017:

“Disappointing iPhone Performance Forces Apple Into Drastic Action”

And on 5 January 2016:

"Weak iPhone 6S Performance Forcing Apple Into Drastic Action"

As Spence’s own portfolio would suggest, reports of iPhone production cuts are nothing new. Last year, Philip Elmer-DeWitt did a fine job debunking Forbes’ regular trips to Production-Cut Land. This stuff is nothing but FUD and clickbait.

Clearly nothing has come of all these production cut rumors in the past, so why put any stock in them? More interestingly, why do they keep cropping up?

As Ian Betteridge points out, the reason is that Apple shifts component orders frequently between its several suppliers. A single manufacturer’s results are not enough information to judge iPhone sales as a whole.

But, of course, Ewan Spence can only be expected to look at things through his Apple doom-colored glasses.

(As a side note, what color is Apple doom? You probably wouldn't want to paint your walls with it. A sickly maroon?)

There is no super-cycle…

You remember the super-cycle, of course! It was that goal “analysts” like Ewan made up so they could complain when Apple didn’t achieve it.

… there is no hockey stick in the iOS market share…

Haven’t you read all of Spence’s columns for the past three years? Market share is this huge, important, vital thing. For reasons that have yet to be disclosed.

… and iPhone sales - which have been relatively static since the iPhone 6 was launched - are either flat or ready to fall.

Are iPhone sales flat? Sure. Are they about to decline? There’s no evidence of that.

Who needs evidence? Some nice speculation should do the trick.