Just what Apple fans needed — more signs that the iPhone 5s is going to be extremely difficult to come by when it launches next week. Rumors have been tossed around for months suggesting that Apple’s manufacturing partners were having yield issues with the fingerprint scanner embedded in Apple’s new iPhone 5s. Now, well-respected Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek has mirrored earlier reports and suggested that production woes are still a big problem.
In a note to investors on Friday morning, Misek slashed his price target on Apple shares to $425 from $450, maintaining his Hold rating. Misek reports that yields of the fingerprint scanner for Apple’s iPhone 5s are “terrible” and he believes Apple’s partners will only build between 5 million and 10 million 5s units this quarter as a result. The analyst believes 20 million iPhone 5c handsets will be built over the course of Q3, as well as between 5 million and 8 million iPhone 4S models.
In the holiday quarter, Misek believes Apple’s partners will build between 20 million and 25 million 5s units, about 30 million 5c units and only between 3 million and 5 million iPhone 4S handsets.
“We note that the build plans vary widely (much more than normal) depending on the supplier, which we interpret to imply a combination of build cuts and component inventory issues,” Misek wrote. “Prior CQ413 builds were 55 million to 60 million vs. current 48 million to 60 million with almost all of the downside revision due to the 5s.”
Misek slashed his fiscal 2014 iPhone shipment estimate to 147 million units from his earlier estimate of 162 million iPhones. He also lowered his full-year EPS projection from $38.78 to $37.95 as a result, and his revenue estimate is now 16% below Wall Street’s consensus.
Apple shares opened down about half a point on Friday.