Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) officially announced a Sept. 10 media event this week, and the anticipation just keeps on building ahead of the expected iPhone unveiling on that date. Now analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald have initiated coverage of Apple with a Buy rating and a $777 per share price target.
Initiating Apple coverage ahead of event
Analyst Brian White believes that even though Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares have fallen 8 percent year to date, the stock is heading for recovery. He believes the company is about to move into an extended product cycle which will refresh the company’s current products while also increasing its penetration within the categories it already competes. He believes Apple is ready to take off again and that the company’s stock price is “very attractive.”
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White notes that this past year was very challenging for the company’s stock because the high-end smartphone market hit a wall. He also says “the ramp of new product categories did not come to fruition.” As a result, he notes that most investors would just like to forget this year, but he thinks the next 12 to 18 months will show off a major product cycle ramp.
Apple’s iPhone moves into the lower end
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to unveil not just the iPhone 5S on Sept. 10 but also the iPhone 5C, which is expected to be a low cost model of the handset. White estimates that the addition of the low cost iPhone 5C will enable Apple to address the 60 percent of the market the company had not previously been able to address.
White is estimating that the low cost handset will retail for around $399 to $429 or between 32 and 37 percent below the price of an unlocked 16 GB iPhone 5. He’s expecting five color options in the handset and believes that it will accelerate iPhone growth and drive further smartphone share gains for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
He believes a fingerprint sensor will be the distinguishing feature for the flagship iPhone 5S and suggests that Apple could even introduce an even higher end iPhone at some point in the future. He has dubbed this device the iPhone Pro.
New product categories expected at Apple
In addition to the iPhone 5C, he said some new product categories are coming up at Apple. White says there’s still “plenty of innovation at Apple” as the company prepares the rumored iTV and iWatch. While some are concerned about the pace of innovation at the company, he points out that even if the company introduces a new product category in the next year, it would still be just ahead of the company’s past innovation cycles. After all, he says, it took Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) six years to introduce a new category after the iPod and three years after the iPhone.
White believes that Apple doesn’t get enough credit for the innovation it has displayed in the past and suggests that its “an important differentiator” that could “further distance Apple from competitors in the future.”