Analyst: The iPhone Will Suffer

The rising clout of Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) smartphones will give the iPhone a tough time in the ongoing three-month period, Citi analyst Glen Yeung has said. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will give up some of its smartphone market share in the March quarter, “raising concern about the on-going dominance of the iPhone,” Yeung wrote  in a note to investors.

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“Our checks mid-December revealed initial signs of order cuts from Apple, now evident across a larger array of suppliers,” the analyst wrote, according to CNET. “We acknowledge the true nature of these cuts is as yet inconclusive, but we suspect they reflect growing demand for competitive offerings (e.g. Samsung), particularly outside the U.S.”

Yeung predicted iPhone unit sales of 35 million for the current quarter, short of Wall Street’s consensus figure of 42 million. But as far as the December quarter was concerned, Yeung saw no cause for worry. Sales of the iPhone could meet or even beat Wall Street’s forecast of 45 million to 50 million, he said.

According to the analyst, gains from Samsung in both the December and the March quarters and the entry of Research In Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry 10 into the fray will mean that even an iPhone 5S upgrade would not be enough to stop Apple’s market share fall. “Based on our understanding of the iPhone5S (same form factor), we do not view the forthcoming launch (scheduled for C2Q13) as a catalyst for market share regain,” he wrote.

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Yeung, who has a neutral rating on Apple’s stock, cut his price target on the shares to $500 on January 18. He expected Apple to unveil the iPhone 5S in June, followed by an iPad mini with Retina display, an iPad 5, and a low-end iPhone in September.

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