- Apple is expected to release the next iPhone on time, contrary to previous estimates.
- The new iPhone’s design will likely spur a super cycle of upgrades.
The next iPhone is set to be announced later this year, and Wall Street analysts are betting that it will drive a huge number of new sales for Apple.
Because of tech complications around putting a fingerprint reader behind the new bezel-less, OLED screen, the new iPhone was expected to be delayed into November or December, but the company’s fourth-quarter revenue guidance suggests the iPhone will be released on time. The company released revenue guidance of $49 billion to $52 billion for the fourth quarter, higher than the $49.21 billion expected by Wall Street.
“Despite investor concerns that OLED iPhone shipments could push to Nov/Dec or even next year, management guided September quarter bullishly and sounded confident on upcoming product launches this fall,” Katy Huberty, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, said in a note to clients.
Huberty says the earlier released could add as many as 6 million iPhone units to the fourth quarter, bringing her estimates to 43 million phones.
Regardless of when the phone is released, analysts are estimating it will spur a “supercycle.” Wall Street thinks the new phone design, the first one in two years, will encourage people to upgrade phones that they may not have for the iPhone 7 cycle, which was largely seen as iterative.
“Our installed base analysis suggests that strong growth of the installed base in the past three years will be a key driver of the future growth in 2018, driven by an iPhone 8 super cycle,” Kulbinder Garcha, an analyst at Credit Suisse, said in a note to clients.
Everything believed about the phone so far is just a rumor, but analysts have a pretty good idea of what is coming.
A bezel-less OLED screen is expected to be the flagship feature and the one that necessitates a new design that could spur the “super cycle.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook is really bullish on augmented reality technology, and analysts are expecting the company’s AR technology, ARKit, to make its presence known on the new iPhone.
“Much like dual camera a year ago, Apple will be the first to incorporate 3D sensors into the iPhone, which combined with the recently announced ARKit for developers sets the company up to take outsized share of smartphone upgrades if these applications resonate with consumer and business users,” Huberty said.
Developers are already making use of the technology to allow users to place digital furniture in their homes and to create virtual tape measures, for example.
Analysts at Macquarie wrote that ARKit-based technology will eventually be monetizable through the app store. If this happens, it would help add to the company’s goal of increasing its services revenue, which grew 22% in the most recent quarter. “We think AR will have some important near-term and many significant long-term implications for Apple and others,” Macquarie wrote.
A super cycle in iPhone sales will be good news for the company, and many analysts are pricing that in to their stock price models. Seven of 10 recent notes from Wall Street analysts are bullish on the stock.
Morgan Stanley has a price target of $182.00, 17% higher than the company’s current price. Credit Suisse raised its target price to $175, 10.68% higher than current prices. Macquarie has a price target of $180.
Not everyone is so bullish on the stock, however. Barclays thinks the super cycle is just hype, and that the next iPhone won’t sell as many iPhones as analysts the rest of Wall Street is expecting. “Pre-launch fervor could get frothy … Yes, that’s right; iPhone is just trudging along before the next launch,” Barclays wrote. The bank has a target price of $146.
Apple has risen 36.29% this year, and is trading at $158.35.
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