Is it the China slowdown or is it just Apple?

Apple company logos are seen as two Mac Books stand next to each other in an office in Vienna

Apple company logos are seen as two MacBooks stand next to each other in an office in Vienna, Austria January 3, 2019.

Shares of the Cupertino, Calif. -based tech giant slid almost 10 percent on Thursday - wiping out more than $75 billion in market cap and knocking it back to No. 4 among the world's most valuable companies - after it warned of slower-than-expected iPhone sales.

Rupal Bhansali, chief investment officer of Ariel International and Ariel Global, and Rajiv Jain, head of GQG Partners, which invests in global and emerging market stocks, are among the veteran investors who have been warning of potential trouble for Apple for months.

The U.S. tech giant blamed longer upgrade cycles and headwinds in China for lower-than-expected iPhone sales.

"It's not going to be just Apple", CEA chairman Kevin Hassett said in an interview on CNN.

Beyond pricing, some consumers in China have fled to competitors like Huawei's phones for their combination of unique back covers and camera systems, and upstarts like OnePlus because of its speed.

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Apple claimed a number of reasons why it knew revenue would underperform, citing a slowing economy in China, supply constraints, the build of buyers having upgraded to the iPhone X in January 2018 rather than December 2017 and more, but they were themselves surprised by how rapidly the smartphone market in China collapsed, saying "market data has shown that the contraction in Greater China's smartphone market has been particularly sharp". But Cook specifically said he "would not put China in that category" of countries with troubled growth.

Qualcomm Inc said it had posted security bonds to enforce a court order banning sale of some iPhone models in Germany, meaning Apple would likely have to pull iPhone 7 and 8 models from its 15 stores in the country.

PRICE TAG Some analysts, however, questioned the impact of Apple's own actions, such as its unyielding pursuit of high selling prices for its products. The current median price target is $186. That led Apple to aggressively market the iPhone XR on its website for $449, about $300 less than its official sticker price.

Many analysts and investors had anxious about a slowdown in iPhone sales since the company said in November it would stop disclosing unit sales data for its phones and other hardware products.

Apple attributes disappointing sales to the slowdown of China's economy. Nevertheless, Wall Street countered that iPhones, both at home and overseas, have gotten too pricey for customers' tastes, and analysts don't see any quick fixes for the problem. The flagship product earns Apple about two-thirds of its revenue, and allows the company to generate more money from attached products like Apple Watches, AirPods, and services like Apple Music.

Apple finished the day down 9.9 percent, at $142.19. The stock has fallen about 30 percent since Cook said in November that the company may miss its holiday quarter sales estimate.

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