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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares gained 1.39 percent on Wednesday after the new iPhone 5 was announced. On Thursday, shares of Apple achieved a new intra-day high of $685.50.. The general impression for the analysts also mirrored the market’s positive buzz, with at least five top specialists on Apple raising their price target for the company.
While Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu agreed that feature-wise there weren’t enough surprises because of the intense media coverage and rumors prior to the unveiling, the analyst was nonetheless impressed that Apple was prepared to start shipping the phone earlier than expected. Wu raised his price target on Apple shares to $820 from $780, stressing that he believed the phone will “drive a powerful product cycle.”
RBC’s Amit Daryanani wrote that the new phone was potentially the biggest upgrade in Apple’s history and made much of the fact that the company planned to roll out the device in multiple countries within a week of its U.S. launch. “Our initial estimates imply that Apple could see 8 million to 10 million units by end of the September quarter, which could result in approximately $4 billion to $5 billion of incremental revenues.” Daryanani raised his price target to $750 from $700.
Barclays’ Ben Reitzes raised his price target to $810 from $750 on the assumption that Apple was preparing for a second big product launch, featuring the iPad Mini and new Macs, later this fall, as well as the expectation of a spurt in iPhone 5 sales starting in the December quarter. Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster raised his September quarter unit sales estimate to 27.2 million from 22 million, though he kept the price target unchanged at $910. “We believe the phone will meet or exceed consumer expectations,” Munster wrote.
While Needham’s Charlie Wolf kept his target unchanged at $750, he believed the new iPhone had “enhanced its already elevated stature as the gold standard of the smartphone industry.” Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty was also impressed that Apple was able to deliver another “innovative” product through “leveraging its software and hardware expertise, and app and media ecosystem.” However, Huberty is choosing to on a few data points before offering a more detailed assessment. The analyst wants to see pre-order volumes, sales volume from the first weekend, supply chain data points from Asia, potential business trend updates by the company’s partners, among others.
William Blair’s Anil Doradla also chose to be circumspect, saying the new device lacked a big enough standout improvement: “While we were impressed with the product improvements and the aggressive rollout schedule, the announcement did lack the ‘wow factor’ we have seen in some of Apple’s new product announcements.”
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