Apple 2.0

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Peter Misek raises Apple estimates, lowers price target

December 10, 2012: 12:14 PM ET

Jefferies' Apple specialist flew in from Asia with a sack full of predictions

Misek. Screengrab: Bloomberg

Misek. Screengrab: Bloomberg

FORTUNE -- There's a lot to digest in Peter Misek's note to clients Monday. Just back from a visit to some of Apple's (AAPL) Asian suppliers, Jefferies' managing director has a lot to say about the rate at which current products are being manufactured and what future products -- including the iPhone 6 -- are floating around in prototype form.

The highlights:

  • iPhone build plans for the current quarter have been trimmed from 60-65 million to 60 million, but those numbers are still higher than Misek's fiscal Q1 sales estimate (53 million units) and considerably higher than the Street's (46-48 million).
  • iPhone build plans for Apple's second fiscal quarter are flat at 60 million, but that's better than the rumor of a 20% cut that DigiTimes passed along last week.
  • iPad build plans for fiscal Q2 have been cut from 30 million to 25 million, according to Misek. His fiscal Q2 sales estimate is unchanged at 20 million, down from 24 million in the Christmas quarter. (iPad mini ship times fell to 1 week over the weekend.)
  • He expects the iPhone 5S ("new super HD camera/screen, a better battery and near field communications") to ship in June or July, and says that several iPhone 6 prototypes are reported to be floating around.
  • Prototypes of an Apple television set (not just a set top box) have also been sighted, and Misek expects it to launch in September or October. (See Jean-Louis Gassee's The enduring Apple TV Fantasy for a contrary view.)
  • Misek expects a new iPad (half as thick and much lighter thanks to an IGZO screen) in June.
  • The low-cost iPhone he's been predicting has not yet been given the go-ahead, but he's got some pretty detailed thoughts about what it might be:

"Our checks indicate a low-cost model would be a retooled iPhone 4 with a scaled-down modem, apps processor, etc. Foxconn ... already has a supply chain for capacity scaling up to 200-300K units per day.

We see little financial impact to Apple from a low-cost iPhone launch mainly due to an expected high cannibalization rate. We think the most likely scenario would lead to Apple increasing its unit market share but that its revenues and EPS would remain largely unchanged. But [gross margin] would be impinged in order to reach the desired $200-$250 price point. We estimate that the low-cost iPhone's GM would be near corporate average but that it would be below the regular iPhone."

Bottom line: Misek thinks Apple's average selling prices may have peaked and that fiscal 2014 could see some further P/E compression. His new price target for 2014, $800 down from $900, reflects an earnings multiple of 11x ex cash.

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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

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