Apple's (AAPL) exposure to China is arguably the primary concern that could weigh on its results for the September quarter.
"It is absolutely the biggest concern for me," DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte told Real Money, as the company gets set to report its quarterly earnings after the market close Thursday.
The concern comes as China's cash cow status for the company, recording nearly 20% of overall revenue in the first quarter of the calendar year, might be thinning amid trade bluster.
"Apple has dodged the bullet, to date, as its most important product, smartphones, have not been included in the first two rounds of tariffs," Forte said. "But the next move from the U.S. administration is to tariff everything."
He added that there might develop a trend of "protectionary buying from Chinese consumers" as the trade war ramps up, meaning Chinese consumers might be inclined to forego American products on nationalistic grounds.
That adds to worries that are already blooming on the devaluation of the yuan and the overall economic slowdown in China that harms the purchasing power of Chinese consumers.
"We'll be expecting a lengthy discussion on the topic from [CEO] Tim Cook," Forte said in anticipation of the earnings release Thursday evening.
Bank of America analyst Wamsi Mohan noted that the trends of a slowdown are already apparent in app store sales.
"China downloads from the app store turned negative in July and stayed negative through October," Mohan explained in a research note. "Revenues have also decelerated."
The trend shows that even before a tariff directly on iPhones has come to fruition, the impact is already being felt to a degree.
To be sure, the app store is seen by others as an issue of minor impact given the short timeframe in which the decrease has occurred.
"In the near term, the mobile game approval freeze in China could pressure App Store revenues although this looks like a classic short-term issue," Jefferies analyst Tim O'Shea said.
O'Shea added that longer-term trends in market share should assuage the shorter-term turmoil that the trade war has brought on.
"Even in China where growth has recently lagged, we believe Apple's market share is stable with its high-spending user base," O'Shea reasoned.
Investors will hope for a similarly rosy outlook from Tim Cook.
The expectedly lengthy discussion on China and its effect on the overall business should be included in his earnings presentation this evening, available here.