Citi slashes Apple iPhone production forecast for 1Q

Citi Research dramatically lowered its outlook for iPhone production in the coming quarter as Apple battles softening demand for its devices.

While originally expecting Apple to produce 8 million iPhone XS Max devices in the first quarter of 2019, analysts at Citi halved that estimate to 4 million, as reported by Reuters. The iPhone XS Max is the tech giant’s new and most expensive offering, with a starting price of $1,099.

Citi also lowered its outlook for iPhone XS production to 5 million, from 6 million, for the slightly cheaper $999 smartphone. The firm also cut production estimates for the more affordable iPhone XR ($749) to 11 million from 14 million.

Apple has been grappling with slowing demand for its products as the smartphone market becomes saturated. However, higher price tags have been able to help offset weaker sales. The average selling price for a phone during the company’s fourth quarter was $793, exceeding analyst expectations.

Apple’s guidance for the quarter covering the holiday season, however, was dismal. Projected sales fell short of analyst expectations during the ever-important month of December.

The company will no longer provide sales figures for its devices each quarter.

Shares are down more than 8 percent over the past year.