More evidence emerges that Apple is killing its iPhone X, analyst says

Key Points
  • Further evidence is mounting that Apple could be winding down production of the iPhone X.
  • Analyst Neil Campling of Mirabaud Securities said that weaker-than-expected first quarter earnings and second quarter earnings from Cognex provide more evidence of this.
  • Cognex sells technologies to factories that assist with putting OLED screens on iPhone X devices.
  • Apple accounts for 20 percent of Cognex revenues, according to Campling.
More evidence emerges that Apple is killing its iPhone X, analyst says

More earnings reports from companies linked to Apple have resulted in further evidence that the technology giant could be winding down or stopping production of the iPhone X.

Nasdaq-listed Cognex is the latest company to provide clues that Apple may be going down this path.

It reported first quarter earnings on Monday that were up 22 percent year-on-year, a slowdown from the 40 percent growth seen in the first quarter of 2017. On top of that, guidance for second quarter revenue of between $200 million and $210 million was below Wall Street expectations, according to Neil Campling, co-head of the global thematic group at Mirabaud Securities.

Cognex sells technology that assists factories that assemble the iPhone. Apple's supply chain relies on this technology to get the OLED screen on the iPhone X fitted perfectly.

Campling told CNBC on Tuesday that Apple accounts for about 20 percent of Cognex revenues, so the slowdown can be attributed to Apple killing off the iPhone X.

Investors await Apple's guidance in earnings out Tuesday

"Cognex results provide further evidence that the smartphone cycle has turned south, the OLED overcapacity bites and Apple's iPhone X is over," Campling wrote in a note Tuesday.

"If Apple is stepping back from the iPhone X production cycle, then Cognex is lead indicator of when that is taking place," the analyst said in a follow-up phone call with CNBC.

Campling, who closely follows Apple's suppliers, told CNBC last month that other company earnings have pointed toward the iPhone X being discontinued.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, or TSMC, the world's largest semiconductor foundry company, revised its full-year revenue target to the low end of its forecast. Last week, Samsung, the supplier of OLED screens for the iPhone X, also warned of a slowdown in demand for the display panels.

Other commentators have mirrored Campling's views. In January, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said the iPhone X could be canceled in the summer.

Investors will be watching Apple's quarterly earnings closely Tuesday to see if there are any clues about the future of the iPhone X as well as new products. A number of analysts, including Bernstein and Morgan Stanley, have cut their outlook for iPhone sales for the June quarter. On Monday, Barclays cut its price target for Apple's stock for the second time in two months.

While the iPhone X, which was released last year to mark the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone, may be discontinued, Apple is likely to come out with a new version of the device at a cheaper price, according to the analyst.

Kuo said at the end of last year that he thinks Apple will launch three new iPhones in 2018.

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