Accentuating the Positive or Something

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A couple of positive notes on Apple, producer and consumer news for Apple in India, and, to quote Billy Joel, “Where’s the Orchestra?”

Evercore Reiterates Positives Around iPhone and Apple

Evercore analyst Amit Daryanani ended last week accentuating the positive where Apple is concerned. Apple 3.0 ran part of a note he wrote, wherein he said — yeah, I expect Apple to miss between 5-million and 8-million iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max sales this quarter. And — yes, others expect missed sales to be higher — more in the 10-million to 15-million unit range. Make way for the positives, though: 

  • iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max sales won’t be lost, but deferred in his estimation
  • The cluster-thing that was the iPhone City shutdown will likely hasten the setup of iPhone production outside of China
  • Wait times have shortened “for the more in-demand high end models…” They are said by the analyst to be ~2-3 days shorter than the week before

I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna be whistling “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” for the rest of the day.

Mr. Daryanani has an “Outperform” rating on Apple shares. Evercore’s price target on the shares is $190.

Morgan Stanley: Weakness in Apple Shares Creates Buying Opportunity

Pushing as much positivity around Apple as Evercore’s Daryanani to end the week last week was Morgan Stanley analyst Eric Woodring. Apple 3.0 ran part of a note he wrote, which followed the form of Daryanani’s. He starts by highlighting uncertainty among investors, saying:

Apple has captured a number of headlines in recent weeks, ranging from iPhone production shortfalls in China, supply chain geographical diversification, a pivot in the Apple Car strategy, new App Store pricing tiers, and updated security and data privacy features, amongst other topics, resulting in an influx of investor questions. iPhone production disruption in Zhengzhou, China, and the impact it’ll have on the December quarter has been the topic capturing the majority of investor attention.

Yeah okay, but, Woodring and crew “believe investors continue to under-appreciate the strength of Apple’s ecosystem.” The way he and his see it:

…the core drivers of Apple’s business — 1) growing Product spend per user, 2) increasing Services spend per user, and 3) installed base growth — remain intact, as Apple continues to reduce churn and improve installed base monetization.

Something new would be great, but Apple can keep doing what it’s doing and make more money for quite some time, seems to be the firm’s thinking. And if uncertainty or negative sentiment negatively affect Apple shares, that creates a buying opportunity in the analyst’s estimation. 

Mr. Woodring has an “Overweight” rating on Apple shares. Morgan Stanley’s price target on the shares is $177.

Apple Orders Add to Monster November for TSMC

As much trouble as Apple’s had this quarter getting iPhones made, the phones that were produced seem to have stood Apple partners in good stead. A piece from CNBC says TSMC:

…reported a surge in revenue in November thanks in part to orders of semiconductors for high-end smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone.

According to the report, TSMC’s November revenue hit the equivalent of US$7.27 billion. That’s up just over 50% from November of 2021. 

Good as that sounds, it’s not “all Apple all the time” for the chipmaker. Other big TSMC clients include Qualcomm and Arm. The piece has Counterpoint Research analyst Dale Gai, indicating that:

…“high-end smartphones” such as the A16 chip for Apple’s iPhone and the latest semiconductor from Qualcomm contributed to the “majority of its (TSMC’s) seasonal strength.”

So… “largely Apple all the time” then? Not as catchy, but perhaps more accurate. 

Counterpoint Notes Strength for iPhone in Southeast Asia

iPhone’s been crushing it across southeast Asia. That’s according to a few reports from Counterpoint Research. Apple 3.0 rounded up three notes from the firm. 

  • While one showed smartphone shipments up 34% for Vietnam last quarter, iPhone shipments were up 139%. That was on the strength of iPhone 11, iPhone 13, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Counterpoint says, “Apple distributors are opening more official stores in Vietnam, which is helping the brand reach more customers.”
  • Over now to Thailand, where another Counterpoint report says 5G smartphones accounted for 47% of sales last quarter. 53% of that 47% was some sort of iPhone, according to the firm.
  • Smartphone sales in the Philippines were flat last quarter, according to the third Counterpoint note highlighted. Flat except for the premium segment, that is. Premium smartphones were up 115% year-on-year, while the above-$600 segment, the one in which Apple plays, was up 123%. Counterpoint thinks “the recently launched iPhone 14 series will boost Apple’s shipments.”

Report: Foxconn Throws Another $500 Million at Indian Manufacturing

Foxconn is throwing more money at not-China. TechCrunch says Apple’s manufacturing partner plans to drop another half-a-billion-dollars on operations in India, for reasons that aren’t overly clear. The piece cites a Twitter post from Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan that says:

Just in! 

Foxconn announced a further $500 million investment into India. 

It will inject cash into India via Foxconn Hon Hai Technology India Mega Development Private Ltd

So — you know… little help there on the “why” thing. In his write-up of the news, TechCrunch scribe Manish Singh says the investment comes amid Foxconn’s plans to “expand its chipmaking factories” in India. And yet most of the rest of the article is about Foxconn’s (and Apple’s) plans to expand smartphone production capacity.

Either reason for the expanded investment — more chipmaking or more smartphone production — could be seen as good news for Apple. It would still be neat to know which one it is. 

Tata Group’s Infiniti Retail to Open 100 Apple Outlets in India

Another sign of growth for Apple in India. The site Inc42 says Tata Group subsidiary Infiniti Retail is set to open “100 small exclusive Apple stores across the country.” The 500 – 600 sq ft locations go into “malls, high-end streets and posh neighbourhoods.” According to the piece:

Unlike the premium Apple stores, these stores will be smaller in size and will mostly sell iPhones, iPads and watches only. Currently, India is home to 160+ large premium Apple stores.

Infiniti Retail is said to be talking “with several malls and high streets” about upcoming store locations. The piece says those deals include “terms that Apple stores will not be opened near any of the Tata-Apple franchisee outlets.” The first big little store is expected to open in Mumbai in the first part of 2023.  

Apple and Ericsson Reach Patent Licensing Agreement

The back and forth between Apple and Ericsson has ended for the foreseeable future. MacRumors says the Swedish telecommunications company issued a press release Friday announcing a patent license agreement between the two companies. If this sounds familiar, you’ve been here a while. 

The piece points out that Apple and Ericsson were suing each other over intellectual property disputes until a deal was reached in 2015. That deal, reached at the end of that year, was set to last seven-years. That means now was either a time for more lawsuits or more dealmaking. Unable to reach an agreement, Ericsson actually kicked off lawsuits against Apple earlier this year. Now, they’re friends again for… who knows how long. Friday’s announcement quoted Christina Petersson, Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Ericsson, saying:

We are pleased to settle the litigations with Apple with this agreement, which is of strategic importance to our 5G licensing program. This will allow both companies to continue to focus on bringing the best technology to the global market.

Perhaps to keep litigation at bay, the report says the two companies are looking to deepen their ties. Friday’s announcement had Apple and Ericsson pledging to strengthen their existing collaborations, “including in technology, interoperability and standards development,” according to the MacRumors piece.

Where’s the Orchestra?

If you’re wondering where Apple’s replacement from Primephonic is, you’re not alone. Apple bought the classical music service in August 2021. It shut Primephonic down a couple of weeks later, though it gave then current subscribers six-months of free Apple Music and the promise of “a dedicated classical experience” sometime in 2022. Don’t look now, but there’s not much time left in 2022. In 2021, Apple said:

Apple Music plans to launch a dedicated classical music app next year combining Primephonic’s classical user interface that fans have grown to love with more added features…

Now, MacRumors says that’s the last public comment from Apple on a Primephonic replacement. The company did not respond to MacRumors’ request for comment. 

Two Apple TV+ Series Nab AFI Honors

And finally today, congrats to a couple of high profile Apple TV+ titles. The Cupertino-streamer issued a press release Friday announcing places for “Severance” and “Pachinko” on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 best TV shows of 2022. 

A title or two has been a thing for Apple and AFI for the past few years now. In 2020, “Ted Lasso” was on the list. A year later, “Ted Lasso” was there again, along with the musical comedy series “Schmigadoon!” On the film side, Wolfwalkers, The Tragedy of Macbeth, and CODA have all been honored by the organization. 

All of the honored titles (and then some) are available to stream now on Apple TV+. 

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations podcast

Canada condemns Apple over AirDrop changes in China, and Twitter Blue makes comeback. TMO Managing Editor Jeff Butts and I talk it all over on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

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