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Here’s What Wall Street Is Saying About Apple’s iPhone Revamp

Jeran Wittenstein, Moxy Ying
 

Apple Inc.’s introduction of its latest iPhones on Wednesday was largely in line with analyst expectations. The new product lineup, which offers higher average selling prices and dual-sim card support, may fuel stronger sales and profitability next year, they said.

Apple shares gained 0.2 percent in pre-market trading in New York Thursday, retracing some of the 1.2 percent decline in the stock Wednesday following its event. Some of Apple’s Asian suppliers fell following the event. Japan’s Alps Electric Co. closed 4.8 percent lower, TDK Corp. slipped 3.9 percent and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. dropped 1.3 percent.

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READ: Apple Celebrates New iPhone Models as Asia Suppliers Suffer

Here’s what analysts are saying about the product launch:

Morgan Stanley, Katy Huberty

“IPhone ASPs and larger storage SKUs across the portfolio surprised to the upside, as did the inclusion of dual-SIM capabilities,” she said.

The availability date for the iPhone Xr, set for Oct. 26, was a bit later than expected, but it won’t impact unit demand, “particularly given most early adopters will skew to the Xs Max.”

Huberty recommends buying shares on “any post-event weakness.” She raised Apple’s target price by $245 to $247.

SMBC Nikko, Hiroharu Watanabe

The newest iPhones will result in no major change in sales volumes in the mature smartphone market, SMBC Nikko analysts wrote in a report following Apple’s presentation.

While high-end smartphone sales growth is unlikely, the lower-priced iPhone Xr may become “the big seller of the three,” despite the later release date.

Nomura Instinet, Jeffrey Kvaal

“Apple is once again redefining the high end of the smartphone market,” Nomura Instinet analysts wrote in a report, noting that the iPhone Xs and Max may help boost 2019’s average selling price to $800 to $830, way above the consensus of $757. However, the Xr ASP of $750 is a “modest offset.”

New launches are “consistent with flat or even down units in FY19,” the analysts said. The firm expects the replacement cycle to be delayed following Apple’s recent efforts to extend the life of old devices.

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Piper Jaffray, Michael Olson

The new iPhone lineup offers more choices that should fuel higher unit sales and ASP, resulting in increased revenue and EPS for Apple in fiscal 2019 and 2020.

Previous survey results showed that many iPhone owners who didn’t upgrade to the iPhone X chose not to because it was too expensive or too small. Now these users have options, with the iPhone Xs Max having a larger screen and the iPhone Xr costing less.

“More choices will drive more users who are on an aging installed base of iPhones to move to the next gen form factor” in fiscal 2019 and 2020.

RBC, Amit Daryanani

Apple’s focus “appears to be shifting away from product replacement cycles and more towards profitability and services narrative, which is a positive in a mature smartphone market.”

The company “is positioned to sustain mid-single digit sales and low- to mid-teens EPS growth in a flattish iPhone volume growth environment.”

“We are positive on Apple Watch Series 4 and its positioning as a life-saving health-care product vs a fitness tracker, and could see 20-25% ASP increases.”

Loup Ventures, Gene Munster

“While the Apple event went largely as expected, the new iPhone lineup should provide upside to both iPhone units and ASPs over the next year.”

“Apple, once again, has shown their mastery of pricing tiers, which will extract more revenue per customer.” The iPhone lineup now ranges from $449 to $1,449 for an unweighted average of $765. That compares with last year’s range of $349 to $1,099 with an unweighted average of $636.

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Goldman Sachs, Rod Hall

Apple’s new XR model was priced lower than expected, which “effectively obsoletes” the iPhone 8/8+ models and leads to a reduction in average selling price and earnings estimates. The cuts to estimates are partially offset by a higher unit forecast.

The broker sees the lower price as evidence that Apple is making an aggressive push to move users onto more secure face ID, which could precede Apple Pay improvements in 2019.

Rollout of 512GB memory options on the new XS models is surprising, and may represent a change of thinking regards the iCloud storage penetration strategy.


Updates with Goldman comments.

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