Apple Inc. (AAPL) Poised For Record iPhone Upgrade Cycle

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Poised For Record iPhone Upgrade Cycle
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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) enjoyed a record iPhone launch last year, and analysts at Canaccord Genuity say their monthly surveys suggest that this year’s launch will be even better. They say their June and July surveys indicated that last year’s iPhone 5S was still one of the top selling smartphones. Those surveys also showed that consumers were becoming increasingly excited about the larger-screened iPhone 6.

As a result, the firm has raised its price target from $102 to $112 per share and reiterated its Buy rating on the stock.

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Apple’s iPhone upgrade cycle slowed last year

In a report dated July 10, 2014, analysts Michael Walkley and Siddharth Sinha said they believe the pace of iPhone upgrades slowed down during the iPhone 5 and 5S replacement cycles, leaving a significant installed base of iPhone 4 and 4S users. They think that because of these longer replacement cycles and also expectations that the iPhone 6 will have a larger screen have created pent-up demand that will result in a record launch with the iPhone 6. Their conversations with Apple’s supply chain partners suggest that they are preparing for a record iPhone launch as well.

The Canaccord Genuity team said they think the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones that are expected this year should have been the form factors Apple launched in the last couple of years instead of the iPhone 5 and 5S form factors.

Apple to have a great year

Even though expectations for the iPhone 6 to be bigger are running high, they note that sales of the iPhone 5S and 5C have remained strong. Because of this, they think Apple stands to gain an even bigger share of the high-end smartphone market.

Walkley and Sinha see other factors affecting this year’s iPhone upgrade cycle as well. They say there’s an increasing number of early upgrade plans in North America. Also they believe the fact that Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) and other Android smartphone makers have missed high-end product cycles this year means Apple will benefit.

And third, they think the new features Apple unveiled at WWDC last month will result in a very strong iPhone 6 launch. They were “especially impressed” with iOS 8 enhancements and greater integration for sharing content across Apple devices. They think these features set Apple apart from Android devices.

Apple estimates increased

Because of these factors, the Canaccord Genuity analysts increased their iPhone estimates for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years. They raised their 2014 estimate from 166 million to 170 million and their 2015 estimate from 187 million to 197 million. They also increased their earnings per share estimates. For the 2014 fiscal year, their estimate goes from $6.30 to $6.36 per share, and for 2015, their estimate goes from $7.26 to $7.50 per share.

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