Travelin’ Tim Goes to Japan While Apple TV+ Goes to More Awards Shows

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Make way for the gloomy crew, Travelin’ Tim’s travelin’ again, and awards season kicks it in gear. 

Barclays and Oppenheimer: Missed Sales are Lost Sales for iPhone This Quarter

Yesterday, it was analysts accentuating the positive. Today we say hello to the Gloomy Guses. I told you yesterday of assertions from Evercore analyst Amit Daryanani and Morgan Stanley analyst Eric Woodring that iPhone sales missed this quarter are likely to be made up next quarter. “Sales deferred” versus “sales lost,” in other words. Now, word from a couple of analysts who are not nearly as optimistic. 

A piece from Marketwatch outlines two notes — one from Barclays analyst Tim Long and another from Oppenheimer analyst Martin Yang. First, the Long view. He notes the barely-open nature of Foxconn’s “iPhone City” plant for the month of November. Long figures the factory, which makes most of the world’s iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max units, was running at about 20% capacity last month. He figures production is back to about 30% now, but — the way he sees it, factory “utilization won’t return to normal until sometime [in] late January, at the earliest.”

While he doesn’t say that would-be iPhone 14 Pro buyers would buy a different phone, he doesn’t think they’ll rush to buy once buying is an easy option. “We see perishable demand stemming from the Zhengzhou Foxconn plant disruption,” according to his note, “instead of an outright production deferral…” 

It’s a tepid outlook, but so’s his rating on Apple shares. He’s got those at “Equal Weight” with a price target of $144.

As for Mr. Yang, the Oppenheimer analyst doesn’t just note the loss of iPhone sales but also the stuff Apple sells with iPhones. According to Marketwatch, Yang has reduced his 2023 estimates for Apple thanks to “later-than-expected iPhone production capacity recovery in China.” Quoting his note:

Our reduced outlook also accounts for loss of iPhone demand in [the March quarter] due to supply constraints during the holidays… As a result, we also model more conservative accessories and software and service revenues associated with new phone sales.

The good news for Apple investors, with the recent relaxation of Zero-COVID policies in China, Yang figures production will be back in full-swing quickly and won’t be so disrupted again. Damage has been done, though. While he’s maintaining an “Outperform” rating on Apple shares, the Oppenheimer analyst has dropped his firm’s price target on the shares from $190 to $170. 

CIRP: Apple Only Sells 24% of iPhones in US

When you buy your iPhone, where do you go? If you live in the U.S., three-out-of-four of you don’t go to Apple. That is the word from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). 9to5Mac highlights their take. According to CIRP’s most recent data:

  • 67% of iPhone buyers in the US buy through carriers (physical stores or online)
  • 24% buy through Apple
  • 4% buy through Best Buy
  • 5% buy through other outlets (Target, Walmart, etc.)

Not unlike Oppenheimer analyst Yang, CIRP notes the stuff Apple’s not selling when it’s not selling the phones itself. Quoting the research firm:

…a carrier salesperson or website will direct customers to accessories and extended warranties, though they likely are not giving preference to Apple’s offerings as Apple certainly would.

Apple Issues Firmware Update for AirTag

Apple’s doing secret stuff with your stuff again. MacRumors says the Cupertino-company has “released a new firmware update designed for its AirTag item trackers…” According to the piece, the firmware build number goes from 2A24e to 2A36. As for what it does… well… the firmware build number goes from 2A24e to 2A36.

“Apple does not provide release notes for AirTag updates,” reminds MacRumors, “so we do not know what’s new in this update.” You also can’t force it. You just kind of have to let it happen. To make sure it does, the piece says, “you can put your AirTag in range of your ‌‌iPhone‌‌, but you have to wait for the firmware to roll out to your device.” 

Secret stuff with your stuff.

Cook and Joswiak on Japanese Tour

Travelin’ Tim’s travelin’ again, this time with Joz in tow. AppleInsider ran a piece Monday that had Apple CEO Tim Cook and SVP of Marketing Greg Joswiak seeing the sights in Kumamoto, Japan. Posting to Twitter from there, Apple’s CEO said he’d “[visited] the historic Kumamoto Castle and learned about their work to restore this incredible landmark.” He was pictured in front of the castle, along with the city’s mayor and a tour guide. 

Meanwhile Joz was chillin’ at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto. He Tweeted from there about how cool coding and coders are. Cook Tweeted about a younger group of coders, posting a pic from a kindergarten. Not that it’s all aspirational. Apple’s CEO also posted from a Sony facility in the city, saying:

We’ve been partnering with Sony for over a decade to create the world’s leading camera sensors for iPhone. Thanks to Ken and everyone on the team for showing me around the cutting-edge facility in Kumamoto today. 

And now, they’re on the move. On Twitter Monday night (Tuesday in Japan), Apple’s CEO posted a pic from a Tokyo Apple Store — a few hundred miles from Kumamoto. Pictured near the back of a group of retail employees, the post had the CEO saying:

Thank you to the Apple Ginza team for the warm welcome back to Tokyo — and for all you do for our customers!

Expect plenty more from Cook in Japan over the next day or two at least. 

Apple TV+ Teases Premier of ‘Hello Tomorrow!’

Hello Tomorrow! has a release date. It’s not tomorrow, but it’s not far off in the grand scheme. Apple TV+ issued a press release last week with what it said was a first look at the show. Technically true, in that we got to see the very first image from the show, but — seriously, it was just that and some words. 

The image was of a smiling Billy Crudup, star and executive producer of the show, in front of a sign advertising a house on the moon. As for the words, the release says:

Set in a retro-future world, “Hello Tomorrow!” centers around a group of traveling salesmen hawking lunar timeshares. Crudup stars as Jack, a salesman of great talent and ambition, whose unshakeable faith in a brighter tomorrow inspires his coworkers, revitalizes his desperate customers, but threatens to leave him dangerously lost in the very dream that sustains him.

Of course, there were other words as well, including the names of some of Curdup’s co-stars: Haneefah Wood, Alison Pill, Nicholas Podany, Dewshane Williams, Hank Azaria, and others. The first three half-hour episodes of ‘Hello Tomorrow! hit Apple TV+ on Friday, Feb. 17.

‘The Envelope[s] Please…’

Apple TV+ Nabs Six Golden Globe Noms

We’ll wrap the day with more award nominations for Apple TV+, and one award win. The nominations for the 80th annual Golden Globe Awards are out. A piece from MacRumors says two of the Cupertino-streamer’s titles have nabbed six nominations, and it has a chance to win them all. A lot of times, actors in a single show will be nominated for the same award, making a sweep impossible. This time though, no Apple nom is stepping on its own toes. According to the report:

Severance has picked up three nominations. They include one for Adam Scott — Best Actor in Drama Series, one for John Turturro — Best Supporting Actor in Television Series, and one for the show itself for Best Drama Series. 

The other title, Black Bird has also picked up three nominations. They include one for Taron Egerton — Best Actor in Limited Series, Anthology Series or Television Motion Picture, one for Paul Walter Hauser — Best Supporting Actor in the same category, and one for the show itself for Best Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Television Motion Picture.

The 80th Annual Golden Globe Awards will be handed out on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

You’re a Winner, Charlie Brown!

From “the nominees are” to “the award goes to…” AppleInsider says Apple TV+ has picked up a trophy from the first-annual Children’s & Family Emmy Awards. The award went to the documentary Who Are You, Charlie Brown? for Outstanding Non-Fiction Program.

The documentary is about both the comic Peanuts and the life of its creator, Charles Schulz. Featuring famous Peanuts fans including Drew Barrymore, Kevin Smith, and Al Roker and narrated by Lupita Nyong, the award winning documentary is available to stream now on Apple TV+. 

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

CIRP says where iPhones are sold in the states may be a weak point for Apple. TMO Managing Editor Jeff Butts and I discuss that. Plus — talking over SNL’s very bloody parody of “A Christmas Carol” and Apple Pay. That’s all today on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer

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