Investors and Wall Street seem to be taking recent lead times and preorder data as an encouraging sign for iPhone demand this cycle. But it may be too early for investors to start cheering the news, according to Barclays. The latest channel checks in China suggest a potentially difficult cycle ahead, showing overall unit orders 5% lower year over year, and a 4% lower mix of Pro units, wrote analyst Tim Long in a Monday note. “Early pre-order data point from China continues to point to a difficult IP15 cycle with a negative mix shift due to weakening consumer spend and macro pressure,” he wrote, noting that comparisons look tricky given China’s reopening last year and the extensive discounts on iPhone 14 models in the first half of the year. The sentiment counters recent bullish reports and encouraging signs that the latest lead times and preorder data may suggest resilient consumer demand. Morgan Stanley analysts called the data “better than feared” in a note earlier this week. But those expectations may be a little overambitious. Long said he’s taking delivery times data with a “grain of salt.” Channel checks for actual orders in China are a stronger indicator of demand versus delivery times affected by production shortages and supply issues, he said. AAPL 1M mountain Apple’s performance over the last month Barclays holds an equal weight rating on Apple . Long’s $167 price target implies about 6% downside from Monday’s close. However, the average price target on Wall Street suggests nearly 12% upside for the shares. For the September period, Long is bracing for 48 million iPhone units, viewing downside risks to both Barclays’ estimates and the consensus expectation for 49 million. “We are expecting macro headwinds, elongation of refresh cycles and China consumer pull-back to make for a difficult FY24 with margin and [average selling price] pressure on a Y/Y basis due to negative mix shift,” he wrote. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting.