For now, the U.S.'s moves to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese-made products will only have a minimal impact on tech giant Apple (AAPL - Get Report) since its mainstay product, the iPhone, isn't on that list.
But the proposed tariffs on an additional roughly $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, including cell phones, apparel and a host of other consumer goods, would have a significant impact on Apple, whether the tech behemoth chooses to pass the higher costs on to consumers, likely hurting demand, or to absorb the cost itself.
"With iPhones and many other electronics, toys, shoes, etc. currently exempt from this latest round of stepped up tariffs, IF the Trump administration decides to levy a tariff on the additional $325 billion of Chinese goods over the coming weeks/months this would be more of a potential game changer from the perspective of the incremental costs to Apple and its iPhone production with expenses that could escalate by roughly 10%+ over time in a more draconian scenario," WedBush Securities analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note out Monday evening.
Ives wrote that the 2020 earnings per share hit attributable to tariffs could be $1.00 to $1.30, if Apple absorbs the cost. Wall Street is expecting Apple's EPS for 2020 to be $12.81, according to FactSet. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty wrote in a Friday note that an additional round of tariffs would significantly impact its supply chain, and if Apple absorbed those added costs, as she expects, it would shave $3 off of her 2020 EPS estimate of $12.67.
"If Apple passes the entire tariff cost to U.S. consumers, consumers would spend roughly $160 more per iPhone XS, which likely would dampen iPhone demand, and lead to further lengthening of the iPhone replacement cycle," she said. The current price of an iPhone XS is $999, so a $160 increase would represent a 16% price bump.
Meanwhile, JPMorgan analyst Samik Chatterjee said in a note on Tuesday morning that if Apple absorbed the cost of additional tariffs, as he also expected it would, gross margins on iPhones would fall 4%. Assuming that tariffs would be imposed on other Apple hardware products, the company would take a 14% hit to 2019 EPS, Chatterjee estimated. Chatterjee currently projects Apple's 2019 EPS to be $11.55.
Apple has lost iPhone market share in China to the likes of lower-priced players Huawei (SHE) and Xiaomi (XIACF) . China also represents about 20% of Apple's impending upgrade cycle, according to Ives.
The good news? "Seeing the forest through the trees, the fundamental impact on iPhone production and the potential cost increases are thus far containable with shares baking in a much more draconian/worst-case scenario," Ives wrote.
Apple shares were up 0.8% to $187.27 on Friday morning. They are down roughly 12% since May 3, the last day of trading before Trump increased tariffs on Chinese goods.