iPhone to Make Apple’s 52-Week High a 52-Week Low
Apple’s latest 52-week high is well on its way to becoming a 52-week low. In a research note to investors this week, Charlie Wolf of Needham & Company lifted his price target on Apple (AAPL) to $235, from $200, largely on the merits of the iPhone and the iTunes App Store.
“The sole driver of the increase in Apple’s price target is a higher valuation of the iPhone,” Wolf wrote. “Courtesy of network effects, the explosive growth of the iTunes App Store…should translate into a higher growth trajectory of iPhone sales going forward….By exploiting a commanding lead in the all-important smartphone applications market, the iPhone is in a position to chalk up share gains in this fast-growing market that could surprise everyone….In many respects, Apple and Amazon are in similar positions. Amazon holds a relatively small but growing share of the e-commerce market, which itself is small, but growing an order of magnitude faster than the physical retail market.”
Wolf admits that his latest forecast is “judgmental” in that it’s based on the premise that software, namely iPhone applications, will drive hardware, namely iPhone sales. But he explains that the premise does have a proven track record in markets characterized by increasing returns and network effects.
“We have upped the number of iPhones that will be sold in 2018, the final year in our model, from 67 million to 107 million,” Wolf added. “Our forecast has the phone capturing 20 percent share of the smartphone market in that year, up from 12.5 percent recently. We should note that the iPhone’s share of the worldwide market is already around 12.5 percent. So our forecast is by no means an aggressive one.”
No doubt about it, it’s a good time to be an Apple investor.