Apple 2.0

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A closer look at those iPhone supply chain cuts

December 18, 2012: 8:28 AM ET

Behind the reports that triggered a flurry of Apple analysts' revisions

FORTUNE -- At least five top Apple (AAPL) analysts lowered their price targets last weekend based on reports that the company had reduced some parts orders for the iPhone 5 in its Asian supply chain.

In a note to clients issued early Tuesday, Topeka's Brian White took a closer look at those order changes. His conclusion: "we believe the doomsday scenarios painted over the past week are inaccurate."

"Our checks," he writes, "indicate that cuts have occurred in the iPhone 5 supply chain at certain suppliers beginning a couple of weeks ago for the month of December; however, no cuts occurred during the months of October or November. Additionally, we did not find changes for the March quarter. As such, we remain comfortable with our iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S forecasts for the December and March quarters, which appear to be conservative. Also, given our research in recent weeks, it is tough for us to ignore the resiliency of iPhone 4S demand as consumers flock to these discounts. During our October trip to Asia, we indicated that yield issues for certain components used in the iPhone 5 would result in supply constraints, which we believe is now driving Apple to cut orders at certain supply chain vendors for the first time in the December quarter. Actually, we are a bit surprised that these cuts didn't occur sooner."

White is sticking with his Street-high $1,100 price target, more than double Monday's closing price of $518.83.

Meanwhile, kudos to Wells Fargo's Maynard Um for the headline in his post-supply-chain-panic note: AAPL: The Mayan Apocalypse Is Not Upon Us.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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