Apple analyst Gene Munster is out with an earnings preview for Apple, which reports next Monday.
In the preview, Munster gives his reasons for being bullish about the stock. He has a $640 price target. It’s currently trading at $531.
Last year Apple’s stock tanked during the December quarter to March quarter time frame as investors worried about iPhone sales drying up after a huge burst for the iPhone 5. Munster says there will be some fade in iPhone sales, but it won’t be as extreme this year. iPhone 5S demand is expected to be more sustained.
But even more important than the 5S, says Munster, is the iPhone 6, which he expects to be out in the Summer, sooner than expected. The 6 is going to have a bigger screen, and Munster thinks it’s going to be a “blockbuster.”
Enthusiasm about the iPhone 6 should more than offset any concern about 5S sales inevitably slowing, says Munster.
He also says he thinks Apple has a computerized wristwatch, dubbed the “iWatch”, and television set in the works, and the gossip about those products should buoy the stock.
The general framework of Munster’s thesis makes sense to us. We expect Apple to release a bigger iPhone and an iWatch. However, we’re not so sure about Munster’s timeline. We will be stunned if Apple can get a big iPhone out before September 2014. It has settled into a release schedule for the iPhone in the fall, and we doubt that changes.
As for the iWatch, we think it’s a 2015 product. All signs point to Apple assembling the team this year. We assume that team will refine the product, get it production ready during 2014. Then in early 2015, we expect it will be manufactured.
We have given up on an Apple television. We don’t know if it’s going to happen. We wouldn’t be surprised if Apple updated the Apple TV set-top box in the spring of 2014. There have been a lot of reports about Apple testing Kinect-like motion controls for the Apple TV box. We expect that could become a reality at the start of 2014. If that happens, we think investors will be let down since it won’t be the full-on TV they’re hoping for.
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