Less than two days before the official launch of Apple Inc.'s Apple Watch on Friday, FBR & Co. analyst Daniel Ives raised his estimate for 2015 shipments by 18% to 20 million units, citing evidence of stronger-than-expected demand. He estimates sales of over 2 million units during the pre-sales phase alone, and believes watch revenue could contribute as much as 8% of total revenue in fiscal 2017. "Based on our calculations, we believe Apple Watch pre-sales are on track to exceed our expectations for low-to-mid teen [percentage] attach rates with iPhone customers over the coming quarters/years as the watch appears to be gaining more momentum than expected ahead of the official launch on Friday," Ives wrote in a note to clients. The stock climbed 1.4% in afternoon trade Wednesday, and has run up 17% year to date, compared with the S&P 500's 2.3% gain. Apple is scheduled to report fiscal second-quarter results after Monday's closing bell, with analysts surveyed by FactSet estimating, on average, watch sales of $714.6 million.
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