Winter has come early for Apple AAPL 0.46%increase; green up pointing triangle, and it might last a while.

The world’s largest company by market value has become worth considerably less over the past three months. Apple’s share price has slid 11% since the company reported its fiscal third-quarter results on Aug. 3, erasing nearly $400 billion in market value. It is hardly a typical swing given the fact that the company has long used the fall season to launch its biggest products for every year, including new iPhones.

This is the first year since 2015 that Apple shares have lost ground between the company’s key Worldwide Developers Conference in June and its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report that typically takes place in late October.

That report is expected Thursday afternoon, and it will be the first to reflect sales of the iPhone 15 family that was launched in late September.

Investors are worried that Apple’s largest business is now facing new and potentially long-term threats. The growing geopolitical rift between the U.S. and China has finally caught Apple in its vortex, spurring reports of Chinese authorities considering a ban on the use of iPhones and other Apple devices by government employees.

To make matters worse, Apple’s old China-based rival Huawei appears to have made a comeback. The company launched a new smartphone called the Mate 60 Pro in September that reportedly is capable of 5G speeds, even though U.S. sanctions were supposed to deny the company the chips necessary for such an accomplishment.

Market research firm Counterpoint reported last week that Huawei picked up nearly 4 percentage points of market share in China in the September quarter, while Apple lost a point in the same period as “the iPhone 15’s launch sales volume was lower than that of the iPhone 14 series.”

Apple isn’t taking the matter lying down; Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook even made a surprise trip to China a couple of weeks ago to visit stores and factories and meet with government officials. Cook claimed the trip was going “exceptionally well,” according to video footage of the meeting posted online by state media. But that was also just days before reports surfaced indicating that Foxconn, Apple’s top manufacturing partner in China, has become the target of tax and land-use investigations by government authorities.

Apple’s fiscal fourth-quarter report slated for Thursday afternoon could turn some of the tide. That will depend, though, on how much insight Apple shares about how iPhone sales are trending in the company’s fiscal first quarter that ends in December. The recently ended period included only a week of iPhone 15 sales. Apple stopped giving actual financial forecasts early in the pandemic, and it has yet to resume, though it does typically offer some qualitative comments about the ongoing quarter.

Wall Street is counting on a notable pickup, with iPhone revenue in the December quarter expected to rise 6.4% year over year compared with a 2.7% gain in the September quarter, according to current FactSet estimates. “Apple’s Q1 results typically dictate the strength of an iPhone cycle,” analyst Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein wrote in a note to clients last week.

But even positive comments about the December quarter won’t fully settle the question of Apple’s longer-term outlook in China, which is still its main manufacturing hub and the bulk of a geographic segment that accounts for 19% of the company’s revenue.

Apple also will be hard-pressed to address worries that its lucrative payments from Google could be in danger. The U.S. government has continued to press its case that payments to make Google the default search engine on Apple’s devices give the search and advertising giant an unfair advantage.

The trial in that case, now in its eighth week, even brought Google CEO Sundar Pichai to the witness stand on Monday to defend the practice. He said the Apple deal “makes it very, very seamless and easy for users to use our services,” a privilege for which Google was willing to pay $18 billion in 2021, according to a report in the New York Times, citing unnamed sources. That amount squares with prior estimates from analysts and would represent nearly 17% of Apple’s reported per-share earnings that year, according to estimates from Bernstein Research.

Apple might still have a long way to go before that revenue stream is threatened, but it is yet another significant issue over which the world’s most valuable company has little actual control.

Write to Dan Gallagher at