Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is seeing continued robust demand for the new iPad Air and iPhone 5S, according to “channel checks” conducted by analysts at Deutsche Bank. Of course we’ve learned from recent experience that channel checks don’t necessarily mean much, but in this case, they seem to back up data and anecdotal evidence from other sources.
Checks show demand for Apple products
Analysts Chris Whitmore and Joakim Mahlberg issued a report detailing their latest channel checks, which, by the way, only covered 15 Apple retail stores in the U.S., Australia and the U.K. They didn’t examine demand in other key markets like China. They also ran a series of online checks for launch weekend of the iPad Air.
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The analysts found “very strong demand and customer interest” for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s refreshed hardware. They noted long lines at a number of the company’s flagship stores in New York, San Francisco, London and Sydney. They also reported that Apple restocking inventory “frequently” and that supply of the iPad Air appears to be good, except for the 128 GB models. They note that demand for the iPhone 5S continues to be strong 40 days after the handset’s launch.
iPad Air demand could mean higher ASPs
The Deutsche Bank analysts say the demand profile for the new iPad Air is good for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s margins, particularly because of how well-stocked the channel was. They say “surprising strength” at the high end of the iPad line is good for the company’s average selling price because the 128 GB iPad has a higher margin profile than the models with lower capacity. The analysts suggest that early demand for the biggest capacity iPad means some users are substituting the iPad for their notebooks.
Keep in mind, however, that other analysts have found that supply for the 128 GB iPad Air appears to have been lower, so it will be difficult to tell just how popular the more expensive tablet is this early in the game. Also I would honestly be surprised if people were replacing their notebook computers with the iPad or any other tablet, for that matter. I just don’t see it.
iPhone 5S demand remains robust more than a month after launch
The analysts said they saw continued robust demand for the iPhone 5S 40 days after its launch, “with demand outstripping supply” in all of their carrier online and retail checks. They note that lead times have modestly improved over the last few weeks, with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s online stores estimating a two to three week lead time for all iPhone 5S colors. Contrary to what other analysts have suggested, they report that the gold iPhone 5S “remains the most sought after color” with higher lead times. However, once again we’ve heard suggestions that early supply of the gold model may have been constrained, which will affect how many of them Apple has sold.
Deutsche Bank maintains Buy rating
The analysts kept their estimates unchanged and maintained their Buy rating and $575 per share price target for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).