Apple Estimates Cut on iPhone, iPad Concerns (Update 2)

Updated from 11:51 a.m. EST to provide survey comments in the fourth paragraph and investment manager comments in the eleventh paragraph.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Another day, and more earnings estimate cuts for Apple ( AAPL). This time Barclays Capital and Citi cut their estimates, but for different reasons.

Citi is worried about both the iPhone and the iPad, reducing estimates for Apple's two major product lines and saying that end demand is softening. "Indications of reduced demand to Apple's suppliers contribute to our existing concerns that end demand for 10" iPad and iPhone5 in particular is softening, reflecting share loss by Apple in both the tablet market and the smartphone market," wrote analyst Glen Yeung, in the report. He cut his price target to $480 from $500, but kept his "neutral" rating.

Yeung noted that Apple's suppliers are seeing reduced demand for iPhone 5 components and he believes this is a result of softer demand for the iPhone 5, as well as the iPhone 4S. Yeung did note, however, that this could be a result of Apple launching the iPhone 5S in the company's fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in June. Even so, he's not expecting much in the way of iPhone 5S production in the fiscal third quarter of 2013, with just 3 million to 4 million units being manufactured, so it's more likely the iPhone is seeing weaker-than-expected demand. He cut iPhone estimates for the second quarter to 34 million from 35 million, with the third quarter staying at 25 million units.

A recent survey by comScore suggests differently. According to the survey, the three-month average, ended January 2013, shows Android in the top spot in the U.S., with 52.3% market share. That's down from 53.6% in October. Meanwhile, Apple increased to 37.8% from 34.3% during the same time frame. Apple also was tops when it came to smartphone manufacturers, with its 37.8% market share. Samsung gained during that time, moving to 21.4% from 19.5%, but that did not come at the expense of Apple.

End demand for the larger iPad also concerns Yeung, as the iPad mini cannibalizes the larger version and the tablet market becomes more mature. "As we have previously highlighted, 10" tablet sales are in decline in mature markets (sales of 10" iPad in US & Japan declined 10.2% y/y in 4Q12), indicative of product maturation."

Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes cut his estimates, noting that he believes the second half of 2013 will see new products and potential carrier additions, such as China Mobile ( CHL) and NTT DOCOMO ( DCM).

"Given our checks in the supply chain and factoring in increased competition from Samsung, we are lowering our iPhone forecast," he wrote. He cut iPhone estimates for the March quarter to 35 million, down from 36 million, with the full year at 150.8 million units.

iPad estimates were cut for the March quarter, "to account for weakness in larger iPads and seasonality." Reitzes now expects 18 million units will be sold, down from 19 million. He expects demand will pick up in the third quarter, with 19 million units sold and 84.9 million units being sold for fiscal 2013.

As a result of the iPhone and iPad unit cuts, Reitzes cut his second-quarter earnings estimates to $9.80 a share from $10.01, and slashed his revenue target to $41.63 billion from $42.53 billion. Fiscal third-quarter estimates were taken down to $9.04 a share from $9.84, with sales cut to $38.92 billion from $42.02 billion. For fiscal 2013, Reitzes now expects earnings of $43.75 a share on $181.49 billion in sales, down from $44.56 a share and $184.66 billion, respectively.

Reitzes notes that while he believes Apple could introduce a lower-cost iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S in the middle of this year, as recent rumors suggest, the more important additions come from improvements to iOS and services, such as Maps, to help create value in payments and television integration. "Long term, we believe that Apple's ecosystem is solid -- and has room to grow in both existing and new devices," he wrote, in his report.

Even though earnings estimates were cut, Reitzes sees room for upside in Apple, particularly as the company announces a new iPad mini with Retina Display, to go along with the current model. "We believe that these products can still drive a rebound in shares -- which is likely more pronounced after the April earnings report."

Ironfire Capital managing partner and RealMoney contributor Eric Jackson believes Apple has sped up its product cycle, moving from one year to six months. "I'm expecting a 5S before end of June and a 6 for the Fall. I think Apple's moved to a 6 month turnaround cycle," Jackson said in an email with TheStreet. He also said he expected new iPads in the Spring timeframe. Jackson is long Apple shares.

Shares of Apple fell 1.05% to $426.60 in mid-Wednesday trading.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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