With the iPhone 12 launch around the corner, all eyes are on Apple (AAPL). The launch is set to come in the next quarter, and investors are eagerly waiting to see what the tech giant has up its sleeve.
5-star analyst Chris Caso, of Raymond James, tells clients that based on production checks conducted across the iPhone supply chain last week, total production estimates are in-line with the Street’s calls. That being said, he points to mix as a potential driver of significant upside.
“Current production plans suggest the most favorable mix we’ve ever seen for an iPhone launch, and the introduction of a fourth iPhone model at a price between iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will also help to boost blended average selling prices (ASPs). While the stock has already had a strong run since our upgrade last summer, we don’t yet think all the benefits of what we expect to be a two-year 5G upgrade cycle are yet reflected in consensus estimates,” Caso commented.
According to Caso, these checks confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will feature four new models: an entry-level iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Max, Pro and Max Pro.
The sources couldn’t provide any insights on pricing, but the analyst expects the base model to start at $699, which is the same price as last year's iPhone 11, only with a smaller screen. He also believes the Pro and Max Pro will remain “premium tier” phones, priced at $999 and $1,099, respectively. For the iPhone Max, AAPL will most likely price it at a modest premium to the base model, in the range of $799, in Caso’s opinion.
All in all, the checks indicate build plans to support production of roughly 75 million units for the launch, including 64 million new models.
Offering further explanation, Caso stated, “While we believe this is consistent with industry expectations, the mix assumptions driven by the initial build plans suggest a meaningful rise in blended ASPs. There's no guarantee that current build plans will; reflect what consumers will actually buy, but the build plans provide insight into Apple's expectations.”
On top of this, Caso thinks that Apple will build more aggressively on higher priced stock keeping units (SKUs) to make sure they are available for holiday purchases, with lower priced SKUs expected to sell out before Christmas.
As for mmWave, Caso argues “the mix is likely to be heavily weighted to U.S. sales, based on the assumption that Verizon will have mmWave on all models, and Verizon unit sales represent about 40% of the U.S. market.” He does, however, point out that he has confirmed mmWave will be supported on the Pro models, but “Verizon offering mmWave on the entry-level iPhone 12” is his “own assumption.”
Everything that AAPL has going for it convinced Caso to keep his Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating as is. Along with the call, he lifted the price target from $110 to $120, suggesting 7% upside potential. (To watch Caso’s track record, click here)
What does the rest of the Street have to say? 24 Buy ratings, 8 Holds and 3 Sells have been issued in the last three months. As a result, the consensus rating on AAPL is a Moderate Buy. In addition, the $122.04 average price target puts the upside potential at ~13%. (See Apple stock analysis on TipRanks)
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