Apple investors are undoubtedly ready to put 2015 and the iPhone 6s cycle in the rearview mirror, and analysts from multiple firms are urging them to focus on the iPhone 7, which is expected to be unveiled in September. Surveys suggest that the upcoming iPhone cycle will indeed be better than the current cycle, and analysts say that it should save Apple’s stock price from the slump it’s been in lately. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster echoed this sentiment last month, and others have also mentioned it.
Apple takes a blow from sales decline forecast
Along with the results from the December quarter, Apple management updated their guidance for this year. They forecast the first sales decline in years for the March quarter, and investors were extremely unhappy about that, although it really comes as no surprise. Apple even expects iPhone sales to decline on a year over year basis, which is especially troubling because approximately two-thirds of its total revenue comes from iPhone sales.
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And then there are the concerns that the iPhone has peaked, as the general consensus is that the iPhone 6s lineup was not differentiated enough from the iPhone 6 lineup. Another recent survey seemed to back this up as analysts from one firm noticed an uptick in consumers purchasing the older iPhone 6 or 6 Plus models over the holiday shopping period as compared to the newest models. In other words, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus weren’t different enough from last year’s models to convince consumers to drop the extra cash on them.
Survey shows promise for iPhone 7
However, BAML analysts have high hopes for the iPhone 7, particularly in the wake of their recent survey. They found in their more recent survey that 42% of the participants in their survey are intending to wait until the iPhone 7 comes out to update their phones. Over 50% of the respondents who plan to purchase an iPhone 7 have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, while about one-quarter of them have one of the newest models.
BAML also found that 21% of respondents who have an iPhone 5s are intending to wait for the iPhone 7, while nearly half of them intend to purchase an iPhone 6s. They also found a high rate of loyalty—something that isn’t new for Apple—as just 6% of respondents plan to buy another brand of smartphone and 22% of non-iPhone users plan to switch.
Apple management has emphasized recently that more than half of iPhone owners have models that are older than the iPhone 6, which leaves plenty of room for upgrade sales. At the end of the December quarter, the installed user base was approximately 420 million.
Apple stock edged higher by 0.45% to $94.12 per share in late afternoon trading.