Apple may get a bigger boost from its event next week than previously expected, industry analysts said.
Analysts expect Apple to release the next generation iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 5S, as well as a low cost iPhone—likely to be called the iPhone 5C—at a media event next Tuesday. And while these devices have been anticipated for some time, analysts are now expecting to see more demand for them than previously estimated.
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"We expect these refreshes, along with the potential for incremental distribution of the iPhone, to drive improved unit volume, stabilized gross margin and accelerating operating profit in the coming quarters," said Andy Hargreaves, an analyst for Pacific Crest Securities, in a note to clients.
Assuming the new iPhones are available on Sept. 20—which is nine days before the last day of the fourth quarter—Apple could sell at least 10 million units of the new iPhones, according to Hargreaves. By comparison, Hargreaves estimates that the company sold just over seven million iPhone 5 models in the nine selling days after its launch last year.
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In addition, Hargreaves—who has a perform rating on the stock—said he expects the company to sell 21 million units of old iPhone models (iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4), putting the total number of iPhones sold in the quarter at 31 million. However, the company could sell as many as 34 million iPhones if it has an "extremely efficient supply chain management" that would support 13 million units of the new iPhones to be made, he said.
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If the company does manage to sell 13 million units of the new models, it could boost its fourth quarter earnings quite a bit. According to Hargreaves earnings estimates, it would increase the company's EPS from his current estimate of $7.49 to over $8.00.
In looking at the first quarter, Hargreaves said that he expects the company to sell about 50 million iPhones (old and new), but said that number could go even higher if the company announces a deal with China Mobile, China's largest wireless carrier.
(The Wall Street Journal reported Friday afternoon that Apple has asked its manufacturing partners to ship completed iPhones to China Mobile, suggesting that a deal has been struck or is close to being done. For the full report click here).
The new low-cost iPhone will also likely mean that the company's stock price gets an immediate bump as well, which is not something that normally happens, said Brian Blair, a senior research analyst at Wedge Partners.
Apple's stock price pretty much follows the same pattern every time it hosts a major event and it's usually not good, Blair said.
"We get a lot of rumors, a lot of expectation built up into the event, the stock often does well right up to the day of the event and then inevitably there's some things that don't get announced that people expected and then we get a bit of a sell off," Blair said on CNBC's Squawk on the Street Friday.