Barclays analyst Tim Long wrote in a note to clients Tuesday that the iPhone 15’s current “lackluster” sales, specifically in China, presaged similarly weak iPhone 16 sales — weakness that Long expects will hold true for Apple’s hardware sales broadly.
“We are still picking up weakness on iPhone volumes and mix, as well as a lack of bounce-back in Macs, iPads and wearables,” Long wrote. Analysts and investors had noted specific weakness in China iPhone sales as far back as October.
Long expects that Apple’s lucrative services business will also see decelerated growth, in part due to regulatory scrutiny. Gross margin in Apple’s services businesses is roughly double the margin Apple makes on all its hardware products, and Apple CEO Tim Cook highlighted “better-than-expected” growth in that unit on an earlier investor call.
But Barclays doesn’t necessarily believe that growth is reliable in the long term.
“In 2024, we should get an initial determination on the Google TAC, and some app store investigations could intensify,” Long wrote, referring to the payments Google makes to Apple to retain its default search status.