Yesterday, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled the new iPhone 5, we provided extensive coverage (readers can find the summary here). Every sell-side shop is out with notes. No sell-side shop seems to be that surprised by anything announced by Apple yesterday. Most analysts re-iterated their forecasts and made no changes to their recommendations (which in nearly every case is a buy). One exception was Piper Jaffary’s Gene Munster, who slightly boosted his iPhone 5 sales estimates for Decemer.
However, the big news making the headlines this morning is that Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) has upgraded Apple to a buy. Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are up 1.45% to $679 a share at the time of this writing. We thought it would be interesting to note why Goldman Sachs has changed their forecasts. We summarize their decision on Apple below:
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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) hosted its iPhone special event in San Francisco today, introducing the new iPhone 5, a refresh of iTunes, and new iPods. While the announcements were largely in-line with expectations, the company made significant changes to the design of the iPhone 5 relative to what Goldman normally sees with iOS product transitions. Goldman believes that these changes, coupled with the additional functionality provided by iOS, should strengthen the platform and address many of the hardware improvements made by Apple’s product-based competitors. The iPhone 5 will begin shipping in nine countries on September 21 and reach a total of 100 countries by year end, making it Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s fastest phone rollout ever. This planned rollout schedule is faster than Goldman anticipated for the December quarter, which may suggest recent fears over severe supply constraints were overblown.
Goldman still expects the new iPhone 5 and iOS 6 to serve as a powerful driver of earnings upside in the December quarter and into 2013. Goldman is modestly raising their estimates to reflect the likely success of the iPhone 5 and the faster-than-expected rollout. For FY2013, we forecast iPhone units of 165.3 million on total revenues of $186.41 billion and EPS of $53.07, versus 164.6 million, $185.78 billion, and $52.16 previously. Their FY2014 estimates increase to revenues of $223.81 billion and units of 221.4 million with EPS of $64.87, from $223.56 billion, 221.1 million and $64.33 previously.
Goldman is reiterating their CL-Buy on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and raising our 12-month target price to $810 from $790. Goldman’s new target price is based on a 14X multiple on their new CY2013 EPS estimate of $57.74, up from $56.44 previously.
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