Apple Inc. (AAPL): Analysts Are Mostly Positive On iPhone Launch Sales

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced a record iPhone launch weekend, and as expected, analysts are generally thrilled. Several firms released updated reports on the company after it reported 9 million new iPhones were sold in just three days.

Apple Inc. (AAPL): Analysts Are Mostly Positive On iPhone Launch Sales

One of the things that has been noted by several analysts is that the iPhone 5S appears to be more in demand than the iPhone 5C. Also supply of the high-end 5S is more constrained than that of the iPhone 5C.

Adjusting Apple’s numbers for sell-in

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster had previously expected Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to sell between 5 million and 6 million iPhones over launch weekend. He notes that although unit sales were much higher than expected, this may be because of retained inventory instead of actual sales to consumers.

He also said that the 9 million number provided by Apple includes sell-in of the iPhone 5C. After adjusting for that sell-in, Munster estimates sell-through numbers of approximately 5.5 million new iPhones for the weekend, which is still higher than last year’s estimated sell-through of 5 million iPhone 5 handsets. He kept his Overweight rating and $640 a share price target on Apple.

iOS 7 driving Apple’s sales

Analysts at more than one firm also note that iOS 7 may have had a significant impact on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s launch weekend sales. The company said on Monday that 200 million users had already upgraded to iOS 7, which was much higher than the number who had upgraded to last year’s version of the operating system during the first week of its launch. The company said the iOS 7 rollout was the “fastest software upgrade in history.”

Barclays analyst Ben A. Reitzes says this makes it clear that the completely revamped operating system is driving new iPhone sales as well. He also noted that this may be the first time Apple has preannounced a revision to its guidance only a week before the close of the quarter, which could signal that management believes the company is back on track. Reitzes continues to rate Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as Overweight with a $525 per share price target.

What about Apple’s sales in China?

UBS analyst Steven Milunovich appears to be the least bullish on Apple even after Monday’s announcement. He said in his report that even though the company’s sales appear to be strong at first, Apple may be hurt by weaker-than-expected demand in key areas like China, where mobile subscriber growth is especially strong right now.

He said at this point it looks like China consumers’ response to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s new iPhones is “muted.” Also he believes the pricing programs from China Unicom and China Telecom “are not as accommodative as originally thought. Milunovich remains Neutral with a $520 a share price target on Apple.

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