Are Apple’s Worries Just Beginning?

An analysis of Foxconn numbers has led Macquarie’s Daniel Chang to predict that iPhone demand may be weaker than expected heading into Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) second and third fiscal quarters, or the first two quarters of the new calendar year.

What Does Chang’s Status Report Say?

Chang lowered his iPhone sales estimate for the January-March quarter to 44 million units from 48 million and cut his predictions for the following three months to $26 million from 28 million units. According to the analyst, Apple’s “less innovative and differentiated functionality” will contribute to the slowing of the iPhone market share growth.

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In a note written in a contrasting mood for Apple earlier on Thursday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said demand for the new smartphone had become stronger in the three months since its September launch. Munster, who has an Overweight rating on Apple shares and a $900 price target, predicted sales of 45 million iPhones this quarter, but did not issue a foreword-looking statement on Thursday.

What Does it Mean for the Stock?

Chang cut his rating on Foxconn’s holding company, Hon Hai Precision Industry, from Outperform to Neutral.

Apple’s shares have gone downhill in the months since the launch of iPhone 5. They reached a closing peak of $702.10 on September 19, but were down more than 23 percent from then until close of business on Wednesday, when they ended at $539.

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