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Cowen forecasts 'soft' iPhone impacting Apple's Q1 2023 financials

iPhone 14 Pro

Apple's holiday quarter results will be lower than 2021, according to Cowen, with "softness" expected due to iPhone shipments impacted by Chinese lockdowns.

For the December 2022 quarter, analysts at Cowen model Apple as being down 4% year-on-year, with total revenue at $118.8 billion. The earnings per share for the quarter is expected to rest at $1.90.

In explaining the prediction in a note to investors seen by AppleInsider, Cowen believes that iPhone shipments are down approximately 8 million units due to mid-quarter lockdowns affecting the Zhengzhou factory. For the quarter, strong October shipments followed by a reduction in November results in builds around 74 million for the period.

While the supply chain challenges have "largely normalized," the analysts think Apple is entering a "period of slower demand due to macro factors." This includes reductions in near-term product builds versus prior market expectations.

For the March quarter, the sellthrough is being modified from 59 million to 61 million iPhone units. This helps Cowen forecast a March quarter guidance of flat overall revenue year-on-year at $98 billion.

Sales of iPads are thought to have benefited from seasonality, as well as improved component availability. Meanwhile, the Mac segment is down quarter-to-quarter due to a "lack of refreshed MacBook Pro systems with M2 Silicon," something Apple fixed in January.

Supply chain checks point to the March quarter Mac builds to be lower than initial plans from three months ago, "owing to slowing demand."

The resilient Services business is modeled to increase growth by 10% year-on-year, with low-teen percentage growth of App Store activity.

While it "remains to be seen if Apple branded subscriptions benefited from Dec Q promotions," Cowen also thinks there could be modest downside risk to licensing revenues due to weakness in the digital advertising market.

Cowen has a price target of $200 for Apple and rates it as "Outperform."

Apple is reporting its Q1 2023 financials on February 2. AppleInsider will be providing coverage of the figures, and the usual analyst conference call.