Apple Has a Little Time on Its Side

Tim Cook says almost all of the final assembly factories disrupted in China have restarted.


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Sometimes, cyclicality works in


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The tech giant that makes iPhones, iPads and Mac computers is well accustomed to slow summers. The third fiscal quarter ending in June is typically the company’s weakest in sales, thanks mostly to its pattern of launching new iPhones in the fall. And this year’s June quarter may be even weaker, given Covid-driven lockdowns in China that have shuttered some of the factories that produce Apple’s products.

The company warned investors during its second-quarter earnings call late Thursday that such constraints could clip revenue in the June period by a range of $4 billion to $8 billion. Apple still doesn’t give an actual revenue forecast—a practice that seems to have died with the onset of the pandemic—but analysts reduced their projections for the June quarter by about 3% on average. Wall Street now expects about $83.5 billion in revenue for the quarter, which would be a gain of 2.5% from the same period last year.

It was a downbeat bit of news following an otherwise strong report. Apple’s revenue and operating earnings for the March quarter both grew 9% year-over-year—beating Wall Street’s targets. The latest iPhone 13 models are still selling well—despite challenging comparisons with a major upgrade cycle last year. And the Mac is booming, driven by a strong upgrade cycle to machines with Apple’s new in-house chips. Mac revenue surpassed $10 billion for the second straight quarter and beat analysts’ forecasts by 14%. Analysts now expect the Mac to hit nearly $40 billion in revenue this fiscal year—a significant bump for a segment that has historically averaged about $25 billion in annual…