Apple May Sell Record Number of iPhones in 2021

Apple May Sell Record Number of iPhones in 2021

© Reuters.  © Reuters.

By Christiana Sciaudone — Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) got a new Street-high price target after Wedbush said it sees a strong holiday season for iPhones and AirPods.

Wedbush reiterated a buy-equivalent rating with a price target of $160 per share and a bull-case scenario of $200, according to StreetInsider.

Analyst Daniel Ives said his bull case scenario for iPhone sales has already been well-exceeded.

"In mid-December we had this in the 80 million range with a stretch goal in the mid 80 million range and heading into late October we were anticipating 75 million units as the line in the sand and roughly three months ago this number was in the 65 million to 70 million range," he wrote in a note, according to StreetInsider. "This is roughly a 35% increase from our original and Street forecasts."

Sales for a new iPhone edition like this haven't been seen since 2014 with the iPhone 6, Ives said.

Ives has high hopes for the phone. While Street consensus for iPhone sales in 2021 is 217 million devices, Ives sees the very optimistic possibility of exceeding 240 million to 250 million units. That compares to Apple's 2015 record of 231 million handsets.

China, in particular, is expected to continue seeing strong demand, with about 20% of upgrades from the region.

“While services growth remains the key to the Apple re-rating story over the past six months, the hearts and lungs of the Apple growth story are built around iPhone installed base upgrades," Ives wrote.

Still, Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) may be a better bet. Baird bumped Alphabet's price target to $2,000 from $1,725 and maintained a buy-equivalent rating, StreetInsider reported.

"A comparison of Apple's valuation with Alphabet suggests the latter may be undervalued against a worthy 'mature tech' comparable," Colin Sebastian wrote in a note, StreetInsider reported. "Specifically, we use implied valuation multiples for Apple's hardware and services businesses, discounted meaningfully to account for Apple's walled garden, and apply those to Alphabet segments. Separately, based on positive Q4 checks, easing comps, benefits to Search in a privacy-first environment, and expected rebound in Travel and Local verticals post-pandemic, we are increasing our estimates."

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