Goldman Sachs is yet another research firm betting big on Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s 10th anniversary iPhone. In a research note issued to investors (via MarketWatch) on Monday, Goldman analyst Simona Jankowski raised her price target for Apple Inc. (AAPL) from $133 to $150. Jankowski said “major new features” in the iPhone 8 (some call it iPhone X) would trigger a massive upgrade cycle in the second half of 2017.
Augmented reality a ‘key differentiator’ for iPhone 8
Simona Jankowski said she was “increasingly confident” in the outlook for the iPhone 8 cycle. Goldman Sachs has also raised its iPhone shipment forecast from 227.3 million to 230 million units in CY2017, and 231.5 million to 235.9 million units for CY2018. The analyst added that Apple Inc. (AAPL) would launch a third 5.8-inch iPhone alongside the iterative 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch variants. The third model will have a higher average selling price (ASP) than the other two.
Citing datapoints from the optical component supplier Lumentum, Goldman Sachs said that the iPhone 8 would feature 3D sensing technology. The 3D sensor would support augmented reality (AR) that will be a “key differentiator” for the iPhone 8. This is a significant step-up in innovation, especially considering the device will have an edge-to-edge OLED display with no physical home button.
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Tim Cook says AR is a bigger opportunity than VR
Goldman Sachs’ report corroborates with another research note from Jun Zhang of Rosenblatt Securities. Zhang has learned from supply chain sources that all three prototypes of iPhone 8 currently under testing include the 3D sensing technology. Apple Inc. (AAPL) is reportedly also working with Carl Zeiss to develop AR glasses. Recently, Apple Inc. (AAPL) chief executive Tim Cook said during an interaction with The Independent that augmented reality was a much bigger opportunity than virtual reality. In fact, AR could be as big an opportunity as the smartphone.
Goldman Sachs added that Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s installed based going into the iPhone 8 cycle would be more than twice as big as it was three years ago entering the iPhone 6 cycle. The 10th anniversary iPhone is said to have no physical buttons at all. The power and volume buttons will be replaced by touch-sensitive inlays in the metal. The device would have a glass-sandwich design where a stainless steel frame would support the front and back glass panels.
Only iPhone 8 to have built-in wireless charging
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a research report last week that all the three iPhones coming out this year would sport wireless charging technology. Since the built-in wireless charging module gives off a lot of heat, Apple Inc. (AAPL) will add a graphite layer to protect the 3D Touch sensor. However, a new report from Mac Otakara claims that only the 5.8-inch iPhone 8 would feature built-in wireless charging. For the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, Apple would offer an optional accessory. The optional wireless charging kit is rumored to be supplied by Luxshare.
Given the iPhone 8 would bring a lot of new features and technologies, Apple Inc. (AAPL) plans to start production of the device earlier than usual. Early production would help the company iron out any manufacturing issues, and build-up inventory before the phone goes on sale. Sources familiar with the development told Fast Company that the iPhone 8 would have a price tag of more than $1,000.