Apple Shares Plunge as Barclays Predicts ‘Lacklustre’ iPhone 16: Report

Apple shares closed 3.58 percent lower on Tuesday — the biggest fall in four months — after Barclays downgraded the company’s shares to “underweight” and price target by $1 (roughly Rs. 83) on concerns over soft demand for the company’s purported iPhone 16 and upcoming Mac computers, as well as a crackdown in China on devices manufactured by external firms. The iPhone maker is tipped to launch several new devices this year, including new iPad models.

Reuters reports that Barclays downgraded Apple’s stock from “neutral” to “underweight” while lowering the price target from $161 (roughly Rs. 13,400) to $160 (roughly Rs. 13,300). Over $100 billion (roughly Rs. 8,33,210 crore) of Apple’s market value was erased after the brokerage’s bearish outlook on the stock — the company’s shares closed at a seven month-low at $185.64 (roughly Rs. 15,500) on Tuesday.

Barclays analyst Tim Long pointed to soft demand for the company’s latest iPhone models as well as the challenges facing the company in markets like China, including a government crackdown and the resurgence of Huawei. “The iPhone 15 has been lacklustre, and we believe iPhone 16 should be the same,” Long said in a client note seen by Reuters.

Last year, Apple unveiled the iPhone 15 series of smartphones with hardware improvements over the preceding models, including a USB Type-C port mandated by EU regulations, and a 3nm A17 Pro chip along with an Action button that replaced the mute switch on the more expensive models that are housed in a new titanium body.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman recently predicted that the firm’s iPhone 16 models will be equipped with a dedicated “capture” button that can be used to quickly launch the camera app and record videos. The successors to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will also sport larger displays, according to Gurman — the latest models are equipped with 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED displays, respectively.

Apple is also working on adding several artificial intelligence (AI) features to its iOS 18 operating system, according to Gurman, who says the company hopes the software features will help sell the purported iPhone 16 series that lacks major hardware upgrades. As the company’s next phones aren’t expected to introduce extensive hardware upgrades, the iOS 18 update would need to be “extra impressive” to convince buyers to upgrade to this year’s models, according to the journalist.

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