FORTUNE -- I knew there was a reason I didn't comment on the several reports of iPhone production order changes -- up and down -- that came across the business wires last week. (See here, here and here.)
But it wasn't until I read the MacDailyNews' take on the issue Saturday that I could articulate why.
"We're going to make this so simple that even a Droid settler might be be able to understand," it begins.
Without knowing how many units Apple made prior to launch, you cannot infer anything – good or bad – based on limited "channel checks" of production orders at this point. You simply do not have enough data to gauge the success of iPhone 5c – or iPhone 5s for that matter.
The following numbers are made up. The actual numbers do not matter. They are for illustrative purposes only:
If Apple made 8 million 5c units upfront, sold 6 million in the first week, then adjusted future production based on that data and Apple also made 3 million 5s units upfront, but sold 3 million in stores and received 3 million online orders in the first week, then adjusted future production based on that data, which iPhone model sold the most units?
In case you missed the point, the editors go on to quote the world's foremost expert in the workings of Apple's (AAPL) supply chain: Tim Cook
I would suggest it's good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans and also stress that even if a particular data point were factual it would be impossible to accurately interpret the data point as to what it meant for our overall business because the supply chain is very complex and we obviously have multiple sources for things, yields might vary, supply performance can vary. The beginning inventory positions can vary, I mean there is just an inordinate long list of things that would make any single data point not a great proxy for what's going on. – Jan. 23, 2013 conference call.
Recommended reading: Daniel Eran Dilger's The mysterious failure of Apple's iPhone 5c in AppleInsider.
An Apple bear spent a week in Asia and came back a changed man. Again.
FORTUNE --Peter Misek, the top Apple (AAPL) specialist at Jefferies, has taken a lot of heat lately on two fronts: From investors for his bearish stance on the stock, and from the tech press for starting a basket full of Apple rumors that didn't pan out. At one point this year Cult of Mac assembled A History Of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 8, 2013 5:51 AM ET
Today's bullish estimates can be tomorrow's "orders slashed due to weakening demand."
FORTUNE -- In a note to clients Monday, Jefferies' Peter Misek offered some intriguing numbers.
Based on checks with his network of Apple (AAPL) suppliers, he believes that the company plans to build iPhones at the rate of
25 to 30 million by the end of June
25 to 50 million more by the end of September
60 to 65 million more by MORE
More selling pressure on Apple from reports that supplier orders have been cut
FORTUNE -- Apple's (AAPL) share price was hit again Monday morning after several analysts reported that the company's orders to its suppliers are down. According to Topeka's Brian White, who monitors these things on a monthly basis, February's report was the worst on record.
UPDATE: The stock recovered, to say the least, at the end of the day. See Apple shares MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 11, 2013 10:20 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 MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 18, 2012 8:28 AM ET
Calls the suggestion that his company doesn't care about the health and safety of workers in the supply chain he built "patently false and offensive"
Here's one thing that's changed since Steve Jobs died.
When Tim Cook, Apple's (AAPL) new CEO, thinks his company has been wronged by the media, he doesn't shrink from hitting back -- swiftly and in a way that he knows will quickly become public.
This report that got MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 27, 2012 12:16 PM ET
An addendum discloses for the first time the names of 156 Apple suppliers
Apple's (AAPL) sixth annual "supplier responsibility" report is sure to be closely read by both critics and competitors.
For one thing an addendum to the report lists for the first time the names of Apple's major subcontractors -- 156 companies, many in the Far East, representing 97% of the company's supply chain. The list is available here for anyone MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 13, 2012 1:34 PM ET
Apple seems to be controlling inventory, not reacting to a slow-down in sales
Apple's (AAPL) stock price fell sharply last week after some confused reports out of China and Taiwan regarding the company's communications with its supply chain. The first report was that Apple had cut back orders 10% to 15% on parts for the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4S because, according to Taipei-based DigiTimes, "sales of the iPhone 4S MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 17, 2011 10:30 AM ET
A report out of Apple's Asian supply chain may have sent the wrong signal to Wall Street
Apple (AAPL) shares fell sharply in early trading Monday following a widely reported note to clients from J.P. Morgan's Gokul Hariharan to the effect that multiple supply chain vendors in Asia have registered a 25% cut in fourth-quarter iPad 2 orders from Apple -- "the first cut ever we've seen" according to Hariharan. (Business MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 26, 2011 11:30 AM ET
Up nearly 82% from 2010's 47.5 million, overtaking Nokia for the first time
DigiTimes, a Taipai-based daily that keeps as close tabs as any publication on the Asian supply chain, posted its estimates Tuesday for where it thinks the top 10 smartphone manufacturers will be at year's end.
Although Apple (AAPL) will have shipped the most units -- 86.4 million, up 81.9% from 2010 -- according to DigiTimes analyst Luke Lin, it's being MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 6, 2011 8:12 AM ET
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