Given that we're still about two weeks away from Apple's October earnings announcement, analysts are still grasping at straws when it comes to assessing the popularity of the iPhone 7. If anything, the debate as to whether or not the iPhone 7 is a huge success or a disappointing flop fluctuates wildly depending upon who you ask.
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Underscoring how little we actually know about iPhone 7 sales, this week alone saw two conflicting reports about Apple's next-gen smartphone hit the web. First up, we have a report from Nikkei Asian Review (NAR) which, citing disappointing iPhone component sales, claims that demand for the iPhone 7 is weak. Specifically, NAR notes that seven out of nine iPhone component suppliers are reporting an overall sales decline compared to the same quarter a year-ago.
"The shipments for the flagship smartphone is still in a downtrend," said one analyst interviewed by NAR, "and the orders for the supply chain are still quite conservative, compared with a year ago."
Meanwhile, Reutersearlier today published a report claiming the exactly opposite, namely that the iPhone 7 is a wildly successful hit. Using revenue forecasts from Apple partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the report intimates that the iPhone 7 may help reverse the recent trend of declining iPhone sales.
The world's largest contract chipmaker's bullish forecast comes as anticipation has intensified about how the iPhone 7, launched in early September, has been selling in the wake of Samsung Electronics Co scrapping its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone in what could be one of the costliest product safety failures in tech history.
TSMC, which doesn't disclose details of customer orders, said on Thursday it now expects revenue growth to be 11-12 percent, compared with a previous estimate of a 5-10 percent increase. "Demand for high-end smartphones will continue to improve," said co-Chief Executive Officer Mark Liu, speaking at an earnings conference.
Notably, iPhone 7 sales predictions have been all over the map since the device first launched. For example, reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has stated that iPhone 7 sales will check in lower than what Apple saw with the iPhone 6s. At the same time, some analysts have upped their price target for Apple shares due to a perceived uptick in overall iPhone sales.
Thankfully, we won't have to wait too much longer before we finally get our hands on some cold hard data. Apple is slated to release their earnings for the September quarter on Tuesday, October 25. While the iPhone 7 obviously wasn't available throughout the quarter, we'll at least be provided with a sliver of official data. Of course, the real test will come in January once Apple posts its earnings report for the always busy December quarter.
Notably, it's worth mentioning that a number of carriers, including T-Mobile and Sprint, reported unprecedented pre-order demand for the iPhone 7, all of which suggests that Apple's next-gen smartphone is far more popular than what some might otherwise suggest.