An analyst who is notoriously bearish on Apple stock is pushing a new claim that that metal casing issues in the fabrication process of the "iPhone 8" are causing a problem, and claims it could be the source of a possible delay in shipping the OLED device.
Jun Zhang from Rosenblatt Securities said to investors Friday that Apple is allegedly "currently having some issues with [the] metal frame" surrounding the high-end "iPhone 8." It is not clear exactly what "industry research" that the analyst is drawing from, however.
Apple has been using stainless steel plus forged and spun aluminum in aspects of its devices since the '80s, and aspects of technologies developed to shape the materials have been used in the iPhone and iPad since inception. It seems improbable that the Apple's most proven fabrication technology for the entire device is causing the problem, if there even is one, in delivering the "iPhone 8."
Friday's report of enclosure fabrication being a sticking point in the "iPhone 8" is the first of its kind. No other supply chain source, analyst, or prolific leaker has suggested that there is a problem with the device's frame at all.
Zhang has historically pinned Apple's stock valuation lower than the rest of Wall Street. In January of 2016, the firm downgraded Apple to $102 per share, with a neutral rating. In March of 2017, the company raised the target to $120, when the price was well over $140.
It wasn't until the middle of August that Zhang raise the price to $150 — and the stock hasn't dropped below that level since the day before the increase in the target. However, the company still rates the stock as neutral, meaning that the stock's performance will be in line with the average return of others in its industry over the following 12 months.
In actuality, Apple stock has out-performed the rest of the NASDAQ. In the last year, the NASDAQ has climbed 22.3 percent since January 3. Apple has climbed over 37 percent in the same timeframe.
This is not the first time that the very same analyst has made gross errors in judgement about potential problems with Apple's future products.
In April 2016, Zhang said that if the iPhone 7 didn't have a "panel upgrade," there would be no other feature upgrade possible to drive demand, even though Rosenblatt acknowledged "camera upgrades, speaker upgrades, a home-button upgrade, and some software upgrades" were probable for the device. At the time, the firm had a $105 Apple stock price target, and the stock was actually priced at $104.35.
Apple saw sales of 78.3 million units in the holiday quarter after the iPhone 7 — the company's first quarter of fiscal 2017. That was an increase from the previous record, 74.8 million iPhones the company sold in the same quarter a year prior, and not a decline, as was incorrectly predicted by Rosenblatt.
Additionally, Zhang still does not seem to differentiate the fall's new iPhone models beyond the OLED "iPhone 8." Predictions appear based on across-the-board stock limits, or later shipments than historical precedent suggests.
In Friday's research note, seen by AppleInsider, Zhang says that the company is attempting to "assess the impact to production timing" and will update accordingly.