Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple's iPhone 5: What the analysts are saying (updated)

September 13, 2012: 4:40 AM ET

Wall Street was delighted, despite the lack of a big surprise

CEO Tim Cook at the event. Photo: The Verge

FORTUNE -- Like the market, which pushed Apple's (AAPL) shares up 1.39% for the day, analysts who cover the company reacted positively to Wednesday's special event. Below: A sampling of their reactions, newest ones on top.

Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi: What Component Issues? Fastest Launch Rollout Ever. "The launch of the iPhone 5 and rapid rollout appears to fully explain Apple's seemingly aggressive FQ412 revenue guidance in July. We now believe that Apple can sell ~13M new iPhone 5's by the end of this quarter (including some potential channel inventory build) and that Apple might sell only 15M older generation devices in the quarter. Our FY13 iPhone unit growth estimate remains at 30%, though is sensitive to the timing of carrier additions, notably China Mobile. Raises price target to $800 from $750.

Wedge Partners' Brian Blair: Taller, Thinner, Lighter, Faster. "In short, we expect another Apple-dominated Holiday season punctuated by the innovative new iPhone. While we didn't see the new iPad Mini announced yesterday, we believe Apple is saving that for October, which we expect will take some of the limelight off the Windows 8 launch."

J.P. Morgan's Mark Moskowitz: Moving into Pole Position. "We think that OW-rated Apple exceeded high expectations for the new iPhone 5. The device is thinner, lighter, and faster. Plus, the Apple-driven software enhancements of iOS 6 stand to put the iPhone 5 into pole position as the LTE-based device that is not a "pocket hog" or "battery hog". Another important consideration is that the global roll- out of the iPhone 5 is to be fast and furious. By Dec. 2012, Apple plans to have the iPhone 5 available in 100 countries and with 240 carriers, even topping our prior view of a fast and far reaching ramp. Following the product announcement, we are increasingly confident that Apple is on the brink of a 12-18 month product cycle with the iPhone 5, helping sustain its above-peer growth potential." Price target unchanged at $770.

JMP's Alex Gauna: iPhone 5 Launch Surprisingly Short on Surprises. "We are maintaining our Market Perform rating on Apple following a launch event for the iPhone 5 that held few if any real surprises relative to the most widely circulated speculation coming into the event. The new iPhone will remain attractively priced in the $199-$399 range, feature best-in-class thinness and lightness, and receive a 2x processing performance boost and 4G LTE without compromising on battery life (8 hours talk time). The newest addition to the iPhone lineage is an attractive and worthy successor that is likely to once again sell exceptionally well this holiday season; however, in meeting rather than exceeding most of the expectations from the investment and trade communities coming into the event, and in merely matching most of the key specifications already being fielded by the competition, we see the event proving largely neutral to prospects for the stock and our earnings expectations." Target price: N/A.

Wedbush's Scott Sutherland: The $100B Phone: Bigger, Faster, Lighter. "iPhone 5 features as expected, as secrecy is hard to contain. We see the primary selling features as 4G LTE with 100 Mbps downstream speeds, a 4" screen that allows for a 5th row of icons, 2x processing speeds and 2x faster graphics, and 20% lighter. Other features include improved camera functionality, better audio, more integrated Facebook, improved Siri interface, longer battery life, maps and navigation, and Passbook. We note that some of the software features were already highlighted in the company's iOS 6 announcement earlier this year." Price target unchanged at $885. 

Goldman Sachs' Bill Shope: Major iPhone redesign and rapid rollout to drive further upside. "While the announcements were largely in-line with expectations, the company made significant changes to the design of the iPhone 5 relative to what we normally see with iOS product transitions. We believe these changes, coupled with the additional functionality provided by iOS, should strengthen the platform and address many of the hardware improvements made by Apple's product-based competitors. The iPhone 5 will begin shipping in nine countries on September 21 and reach a total of 100 countries by year end, making it Apple's fastest phone rollout ever. This planned rollout schedule is faster than we anticipated for the December quarter, which may suggest recent fears over severe supply constraints were overblown.".Raising price target to $810 from $790.

Janney's Bill Choi: Apple Delivers on Expectations. "iPhone 5 specs largely meet heightened expectations. As expected, the iPhone 5 supports LTE and features a new form factor with a 4" Retina display (vs. 3.5" prior gen) and a new aluminum casing with redesigned edges and glass inlays. It has a comparable battery life to iPhone 4S and a new A6 processor chip that is up to 2x faster in terms of CPU and graphics. iPhone 5 is 18% thinner and 20% lighter and also features an improved 8MP camera. These updates and form factor changes were largely anticipated and should help encourage upgrades from Apple's sizable installed base." Fair value estimate: $720. 

Atlantic Equities' James Cordwell: No surprises, but an impressive upgrade. "The new device offers the usual 'thinner, faster, lighter' improvements, as well as offering a longer (but not wider) screen (4" diagonal vs 3.5" previously). The speed improvements come from both a new A6 chip, which is believed to at least equal the current competition, and the inclusion of LTE. Though the update offered little in the way of surprises to those having closely followed the recent online speculation, we believe to most consumers it will be viewed as a significant upgrade that should drive strong sales growth." Price target unchanged at $760. 

Cowen's Matthew Hoffman: What is Missing From iPhone 5? "Some features that consumers (and investors) may have wanted to see in iPhone 5 (but that we were not expecting) include: (1) NFC, (2) wireless charging, (3) initial 3G TD-SCDMA support for China Mobile, and (4) broader initial LTE operator support, given the launch operators listed at the 9/12 event represent a subset of the world's ~100 commercial LTE networks. We note the device's LTE band support suggests many leading global LTE operators not participating in the initial iPhone 5 launch could well be part of next month's multi-market expansion (e.g. Japan's DoCoMo, Band 1, Korea's LG U+, Band 5, Sweden's TeliaSonera, Band 3).

Evercore Partners' Robert Cirha: Big New iPhone 5. We believe last year's iPhone 4S was Apple's version 0.5 while this is the real deal. Pricing unchanged from iPhone 4S (starting $199) while iPhone 4S drops to $99 and iPhone 4 to free with subsidy/contract. Target price unchanged at $800. 

Canaccord Genuity's T. Michael Walkley: Impressive and tightly integrated Apple ecosystem strengthened by new product announcements. "We believe the new iPhone 5 has very competitive high-end smartphone specifications versus leading Android smartphones, including a larger four-inch screen, A6 processor, 8mp camera with panoramic photo support, and LTE network support with improved battery life. Further, we believe new capabilities in iOS 6 should drive strong iPhone 5 sales and enhance Apple's leading ecosystem stickiness to generate strong future recurring device sales." Price target unchanged at $797.

FBN's Shelby Seyrafi: First of Several Strong Catalysts Over The Next Year. "Next quarter, we expect a new iPad Mini to enhance iPad growth, and new iPods (announced yesterday) will also go to revenue. Next year, we expect business with China Mobile to grow dramatically and we expect the announcement of iTV; we expect both of these opportunities will add materially to EPS in F2014." Raises price target to $1,000 from $800.

Baird's William Power: iPhone down the middle of the fairway. "Though no significant surprises, we view most of the changes as solid improvements, and continue to expect strong sales. We are raising our calendar Q3 iPhone shipment estimate to reflect 10 days of availability and likewise are lowering our Q3 EPS estimates for T, VZ and S to reflect higher subsidy losses." Raises price target to $750 from $740.

Pareto Securities' Helena Nordman-Knutson: LTE - But not in the Nordics. "With Sweden being 'iPhone land' and a forerunner in LTE, the new iPhone 5 will not be able to cater the needs of high speeds as the iPhone 5 in the Nordic region will run on 3G. So, if you want LTE in Europe you need to move to Germany or the UK. Nokia Lumia 920 is LTE compatible in all of Europe and the US. Samsung has two variants to cover the frequency bands and thus Galaxy SIII support LTE in the Nordics (and in the UK of course). We believe it is unlikely that TLSN would invest in 3G just to cater the capacity needs of one device which does not offer LTE. Instead the operator can increase the marketing of devices with LTE, such as Samsung Galaxy SIII and Lumia 920."

Sterne Agee's Greg Smith: Why no NFC? "We believe there are several reasons Apple chose not to include [near-field communications] in the iPhone 5. As our Hardware analyst Shaw Wu found in the course of his supply chain channel checks, Apple may have had issues with battery consumption as well as the lack of an NFC-driven payments ecosystem currently. The lack of existing NFC infrastructure and buy-in was also something that we often heard in our own conversations with key payments industry contacts. Specifically, we questioned why Apple would add the cost of NFC to its handset when, at this time, the chip would likely generate no incremental revenue for Apple and would also add little value to Apple users given the lack of substantial NFC infrastructure. Obviously, as NFC expands its presence at the POS, the value add could change, which is why we do not rule out NFC in future iterations of the iPhone."

Topeka's Brian White: A Big Day for Apple That Was Executed to Perfection. "Last year with the iPhone 4S, Apple focused primarily on improving the internals of the iPhone and this year the Company put great effort into both external aesthetics and internal functionality. As such, we believe the demand for the iPhone 5 will be unprecedented and will no doubt be the largest upgrade cycle ever for a consumer electronics product. Smartphone competitors should be concerned about the impact of the iPhone 5 ramp on their business over the coming months as we believe Apple has the opportunity to gain significant market share."  Price target unchanged at $1,111.

Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu: iPhone 5 Finally Here; Shipping Sooner Than Expected. "While there were few big surprises given fairly comprehensive press and analyst coverage ahead of the event, we nonetheless believe the iPhone 5 is a significant upgrade and will drive a powerful product cycle. Timing is sooner than expected with shipments beginning on Sept. 21. We... believe Dec. quarter upside could be limited by supply constraints on new in-cell touchscreens. Raising price target to $820 from $780.

Needham's Charlie Wolf: Apple reinvents its ecosystem. "In a tour-de-force, Apple introduced iPhone 5, upgrading virtually every feature of the phone's hardware, software and ecosystem. In doing so, in our opinion the iPhone has enhanced its already elevated stature as the gold standard of the smartphone industry... The lingering risk that we see in the Apple story is that the company may no longer innovate at the same pace with the same disruption that characterized the Steve Jobs era. However, the announcements today certainly diminish this risk, if not eliminate it." Price target unchanged at $750. 

RBC's Amit Daryanani: Let the upgrades begin. "We believe the iPhone 5 could be the biggest upgrade in the company's history. Our initial estimates imply that AAPL could see 8–10M units by end of Sept-qtr, which could result in ~$4–5B of incremental revenues. The rollout of iPhone 5 is much quicker and global vs. historical launches. AAPL will launch the iPhone 5 in the U.S. (three carriers) and eight other countries on September 21, followed by 20 more countries on September 28." Raises price target to $750 from $700.

CLSA's Avi Silver: The wait is over! "The iPhone 5 launch delivered on high expectations and Apple is back at the forefront of smartphone device specs after a lull with 4S and iOS5. In addition to gaining share among new smartphone subscribers and switchers from other OS platforms, we believe a substantial portion of the ~200m loyal iPhone users will upgrade and our analysis of 105m users that we classify as "eligible upgraders" supports our iPhone estimates (vs <60m eligible upgraders a year ago)." Raises price target to $805 from $750.

Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty: Killer Integration. "iPhone 5 highlights Apple's unique ability to deliver innovative products leveraging its software and hardware expertise, and app and media ecosystem... We are surprised by the conservative near-term investor expectations, which is a good thing for the stock... Several data points over the next few months will give indications of iPhone 5 demand. We see (1) press release on pre-order volume from Apple likely on September 17; (2) tear-down analysis likely on September 21, which will confirm whether iPhone 5's baseband chip has TD support for China Mobile; (3) press release on sales volume from the first weekend from Apple likely on September 24; (4) supply chain data points from our Asia trip; and (5) potential business trend updates by Apple's partners before earnings in mid-October.

Merrill Lynch's Scott Craig: Clockwork like hardware/software refinements. "Overall, we view the iPhone 5 as evolutionary, exemplifying Apple's clockwork-like refinements in software and hardware. Competition is intensifying, and the gap between iPhone and other smartphone products are narrowing. That said, coming out of today's event, we maintain our bullish view on the iPhone 5 cycle, and Apple remains our top pick." Price target unchanged at $770. 

Wells Fargo's Maynard Um: Fastest rollout schedule ever. "iPhone 5 will launch in nine countries on 9/21, an additional 20 countries on 9/28 and over 100 countries & 240 carriers by 12/2012. In comparison, iPhone 4S was initially launched in seven countries followed by 22 countries two weeks later and over 70 countries at the end of 12/2011. iPhone 4 was initially launched in five countries and 18 countries in the first month." Valuation range: $740-$760. 

Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitman: Phone 5 cycle kicks into gear. "Apple also refreshed the iPod touch and nano and highlighted key iOS features (embedded Facebook, Passbook etc). Looking forward, we believe iPhone 5 will drive a healthy upgrade cycle and with greater product visibility we expect investors will increasingly discount our 2013 EPS estimates and value AAPL on '13 numbers." Raises price target to $775 from $650. 

Stifel Nicholaus' Aaron Rackers: Apple... Continues to Lead Smartphone Ecosystem. "Overall, today's hardware upgrade and iOS 6 software upgrade (previewed in June) meets our expectations and leaves Apple well positioned competitively against the oncoming wave of Android smartphones entering the market over the next quarter... While lacking a spell-binding moment Apple demonstrated via multiple software and hardware enhancements that the company remains an innovation powerhouse and as such should continue to drive revenue and earnings growth significantly above its peers. Price target unchanged at $825.

Barclays' Ben Reitzes: iPhone 5 sets high bar.  "Many of yesterday's announcements were expected, but we believe the launch will be successful and we look forward to another major product launch with the iPad Mini and new Macs later this fall creating a unique holiday season for Apple (the mini still isn't in our model). We are raising our estimates based on our view that iPhone 5 sales may ramp quickly starting in the December quarter – after some stock outs this month." Raises price target to $810 from $750.  

William Blair's Anil Doradla: Faster, Thinner, More Efficient... but No Wow Factor. "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.

Topeka's Brian White (Wednesday): The Hot New iPhone 5 Unveiled. Let the Lines Begin. "We believe these changes will drive the biggest upgrade in consumer electronics history. First of all, the larger screen size (4 inches vs. 3.5 inches) will provide consumers with a much better reading and video viewing experience, even driving upgrades from last year's iPhone 4S. Secondly, the 18% thinner form factor is amazing and helped by the use of in-cell display technology. Surprisingly, the new iPhone is also 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S. Thirdly, the new aluminum unibody casing has created a much sleeker look to this new iPhone and we expect this will really turn heads around the world."  Price target unchanged at $1,111. 

Jefferies' Peter Misek: It's here! Buy it! "Overall the iPhone 5 announcement was in-line with previews, though we think the phone is launching at more carriers and sooner than many investors expected. We believe the launch schedule implies that supply constraints are not as bad as some feared. We see numerous catalysts for the shares to perform well over the next couple months and the next year." Price target unchanged at $900.

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster: iPhone 5 Announced as Expected. "Apple officially announced the iPhone 5 today and we believe the phone will meet or exceed consumer expectations. The redesigned phone gives us greater confidence in our feeling that Apple will sell 6-10 million iPhone 5s by the end of September and we are increasing our September quarter iPhone unit estimate to 27.2 million from 22 million to reflect our confidence."  Price target unchanged at $910.

BMO Capital Markets' Kieth Bachman: The Long Awaited 5. "For Apple product launches, we usually call out a few features that stand out. However, our take on the new iPhone 5 is this is more about a sum of the parts. With the larger screen, improved software included iOS 6, Siri and maps, in lighter form factor, we think the phone will do well. As is normally the case, Apple slots the new phones into the prices of previous models." Price target unchanged at $680.

I think that's most of them.

Posted in: ,
Join the Conversation
About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

Email | @philiped | RSS
Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.