Apple CEO to iPhone: 'So Bright… So Beautiful… Ah, My Precious.'
Apple’s iPhone hasn’t even arrived at market yet, and it’s already starting to suck all the air out of the news cycle. Cast an eye around the tech media today and you’ll find an abundance of coverage on what’s shaping up to be the most anticipated wireless device since the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. If Apple’s goal of peddling 10 million iPhones by December 2008 seemed a bit too ballsy when the company first announced the device, few seem to be questioning it now.
Indeed, BusinessWeek says the device could become a $10 billion-a-year business within just a few years, and Apple shares have been trading higher each day on the sort of monomania typically reserved for the Mac faithful. AAPL is up about 2% as I write this, trading at nearly $126.
And analysts say it’s headed even higher. UBS raised its price target on the stock to $160, predicting 150,000 iPhone shipments in the third quarter and 800,000 in the fourth. “After evaluating our model, we believe Apple’s iPhone and free cash-flow potential is even greater than investors realize,” UBS analyst Ben Reitzes said in a research note. “We still believe our estimates may be conservative.” Over at Credit Suisse, Robert Semple was similarly optimistic, predicting consumers won’t be put off by the iPhone’s $500 price tag. “There is a developing trend with middle-market consumers which plays right into the hands of Apple’s iPhone,” he told clients. “That trend involves the notion of ‘trading up.’ We believe the Mac operating system is the great differentiator in the iPhone, establishing an entirely new set of features and capabilities unavailable to current mobile phone customers today owing to the poor quality of existing operating systems.”
There are those who disagree with Semple’s view, of course. Mostly, rival handset makers, but an analyst or two as well. OK, one–Avi Greengart at Current Analysis, who seems to be the sole analyst paying any mind to iPhone rivals like Nokia’s N95. “N95 has everything that the iPhone has,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “It could have been an iPhone killer. In Europe, it may well be.”