While the media seems to have mixed feelings about Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) new $999 iPhone X, there's less disparity among analysts. Overall, analysts seem optimistic after Apple's Sept. 12 product-launch event.
Sure, some analysts have some concerns about Apple's ability to hit its aggressive guidance for its third quarter given the iPhone X's launch. But analysts expect the new flagship iPhone, along with Apple's new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, to drive strong growth in fiscal 2018.
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Here's a look at some of analysts' thoughts following Apple's important product event.
Most analysts are bullish
"We recommend owning Apple due to potential for a strong iPhone upgrade cycle and a favorable trajectory for services revenue," said Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson after the event. Olson has a $190 price target on the stock.
IHS Markit analyst Ian Fogg was particularly bullish on the iPhone X after the event, predicting it will sell in "enormous volumes." Fogg explained: "Apple has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to persuade consumers to shift their overall spending to place a greater share of their disposable income toward a smartphone purchase."
Analysts at UBS predict Apple's iPhone unit sales will climb 15% during fiscal 2018, driven by Apple's refreshed lineup of iPhones. Further, given the iPhone X's higher price tag, along with a slight price increase for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus compared to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus' prices at last year's iPhone launch, segment revenue could climb even faster.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani expects an exceptionally strong iPhone cycle: "Fundamentally, we think the excitement surrounding the new form factor/features will drive increased unit demand in addition to mix shift toward the higher-end device ($999), which should enable one of the strongest iPhone cycles in recent years."
Near-term results could take a hit
One concern among a few analysts was Apple's ability to deliver strong results in the next few quarters given the iPhone X's delayed launch compared to Apple's usual iPhone launches in September. Apple doesn't begin shipping its new iPhone X until November 3, leaving its incrementally upgraded iPhone 8 and 8 Plus to help make up for lost iPhone X sales during the last few weeks of Apple's fiscal fourth quarter and the first month of the important holiday quarter -- Apple's fiscal first quarter of 2018.
Ovum analyst Daniel Gleeson voiced concerns particularly over Apple's third quarter. He explained: "So what you'll see now possibly is a Q3 that is actually down substantially on what it should have been or what it might have been expected to be."
Apple provided strong guidance for its fourth quarter, suggesting management may have hoped its iPhone X deliveries would begin during the quarter. Apple guided for fourth-quarter revenue between $49 billion and $52 billion, up from $46.9 billion in the year-ago quarter.
Other analysts are more concerned with how the delay may impact the holiday quarter. Canaccord Genuity analysts said in a note to clients, "Given one month less sales for the iPhone X during the December quarter, we have reduced our December quarter iPhone sales estimates from 84 million to 79 million units." In Apple's first fiscal quarter of 2017, the company delivered 78.3 million iPhones and reported total revenue of $78.4 billion.
However, despite some concerns over the near term, most analysts are betting on meaningful growth for fiscal 2018. This longer period is ultimately what Apple investors should be concerned with.
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