Apple reportedly cuts iPhone 14 orders by 10%; controversy surrounds top Apple analyst?

Apple reportedly cuts iPhone 14 orders by 10%; controversy surrounds top Apple analyst?
Apple is expecting strong demand for the upcoming iPhone 14 series. After all, the iPhone 13 Pro line was the world's top-selling smartphones during the first quarter of this year. But a report from Digitimes (via 9to5Mac) states that even with the forecast strong demand for the 2022 iteration of the device, Apple is being forced to cut orders by 10% for the iPhone 14 line.

Overseas report says Apple has reduced iPhone 14 orders by 10% despite rumors of strong demand

Digitimes, not known for its accuracy, said yesterday, "It is understood that the mass production of Apple’s iPhone 14 series has started, but the target shipment of the first wave of 90 million units has been reduced by 10%." TSMC, the largest independent chip foundry in the world, counts Apple as its top customer. The firm takes the chip designs submitted by companies like Apple and builds the final product. Three of TSMC's top customers, Apple, AMD, and NVIDIA, have reduced orders for certain chips.

Chip demand is expected to spring back as the year progresses as chips made with TSMC's next-generation 3nm process node start shipping. The lower the process node, the larger the number of transistors that fit inside a chip. That is important since a higher transistor count makes an SoC more powerful and energy-efficient. While typically the process node used by cutting-edge foundries like TSMC and Samsung declines every other year, we might not get to 2nm until 2026.

Last week, we told you about a tweet from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who posted that demand in China for the iPhone 14 series will exceed that for the current model. To make this forecast, Kuo looked at a survey of retailers and suppliers and wrote, "At present, in the Chinese market, the iPhone 14 prepaid deposit is significantly higher than the iPhone 13 and even twice as high in some areas."

The iPhone 14 line should include the 6.1-inch iPhone 14, the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max (possibly to be named the iPhone 14 Plus), the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro, and the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max. Due to lagging sales, Apple dropped the "mini" model with its compact 5.4-inch display.

There is controversy over the Applications Processor (AP) that Apple intends to use on the iPhone 14 non-Pro units. Some believe that due to the chip shortage, Apple will continue to power those handsets with the same A15 chipset used to power the iPhone 13 line. Typically, Apple might have made some changes to the A15 Bionic and rolled out the A16 Bionic for use with the entire iPhone 14 series.

To reiterate, there is speculation that only the iPhone 14 Pro variants (iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max) will have the new A16 Bionic under the hood. This has angered several iPhone users who are wondering why they will be asked to pay the usual amount for a new iPhone powered by an older SoC. This is an argument that we probably will hear more about following the unveiling of the iPhone 14 series  in September since there has been no official word from Apple about its semiconductor plans for the 2022 iPhone models.

Has Ming-Chi Kuo lost his credibility as a source of accurate Apple leaks?

As long as we brought analyst Ming-Chi Kuo into this story, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that the TF International analyst has run into some controversy about a recent tweet he posted that said Apple "failed" and was unable to develop an in-home 5G modem chip for the iPhone.

The tweet suggested that the company made an error in designing the chip and said that Apple would continue work on it. Apple was hoping to lessen its reliance on Qualcomm and had been developing its own in-house modem that was expected to debut on the 2023 iPhone 15 series. In his tweet, Kuo wrote that as a result of this failure, Qualcomm would be the exclusive supplier of the 5G modem chips to be used on the new iPhone models to be released during the second half of 2023, up sharply from the 20% share that Qualcomm expected to fetch for the iPhone 15 line.

Patently Apple called Kuo's statement irresponsible since it appears that there are a pair of Qualcomm patents that are holding back Apple from using its own 5G iPhone modem chip and the problem has nothing to do with Apple's competence as a chip designer.

Patently Apple questions whether Kuo will remain a credible source of Apple leaks. Frankly, was he wrong by saying that Apple failed to build its 5G modem chip? Maybe Apple didn't fail technically, but the bottom line is the same; it failed to work around Qualcomm's patents. And once Kuo starts delivering the accurate Apple leaks that he is known for, this incident will surely be forgotten.

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