(Reuters) - Apple Inc's iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max model shipments could miss market expectations by up to 20 million units in the holiday quarter due to labor unrest at a major Chinese factory, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said.
Kuo is the latest to flag a hit to the world's most valuable company from protests over pay and strict COVID-19 curbs at the world's biggest iPhone factory, the Foxconn-operated plant in the central city of Zhengzhou.
He trimmed his estimate for quarterly iPhone shipments by about 20% to between 70 million and 75 million units, compared with the market consensus of 80 million to 85 million units.
Apple shares were trading down more than 2%, set to add to the 6% decline so far this month as worries grow over shipments in the all-important holiday sales season.
Kuo, in a blog post on Tuesday, also predicted that the supply shortfall could erase demand for the more popular Pro models, instead of deferring sales, as consumers also grapple with a weakening economy.
In contrast, other Apple analysts expect sales to pick up once production constraints ease and more Pro models become available.
"We note that Pro devices are sold out into early January, but we expect some of the missed revenue to trickle in the March-quarter," CFRA Research analyst Angelo Zino said on Monday.
The constraints are coming at the worst possible time and are the most severe since the early days of the pandemic, Zino said.
Some analysts signaled the possibility of the challenges extending into 2023.
"I can't imagine 2023 will be a solid year for Apple iPhones," said Zeno Mercer, research analyst at investment advisory firm ROBO Global.
"Those looking to make an upgrade have, and otherwise disposable income for next-gen phones should be down."
(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)