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Apple iPhone growth not slowing yet: Analyst

For some Apple watchers, consumers assembled at the tech giant's brick and mortar stores for a product release can give key hints about growth prospects.

One bullish analyst sees positive signs from talking to buyers of the next-generation iPhone, which launched Friday morning. Concerns have grown that Apple's momentum could slow if the device saturates, but those fears look overblown based on the early rollout of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, contended Dan Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets.

"We really saw a lot of enthusiasm across the board," he said on CNBC's "Closing Bell." "Apple's going to prove a lot of the skeptics wrong."

A customer at an Apple store in Moscow.
Dmitry Dukhanin | Kommersant Photo | Getty Images
A customer at an Apple store in Moscow.

In a note Friday, FBR contended initial demand for the devices looked "very strong" and maintained its "outperform rating" on Apple shares. Pre-sales activity, including in China, looks promising for Apple, and first weekend sales of 12 million or more would signal a "renaissance of growth," Ives said Friday.

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He expects an initial sales number from Apple early next week. The company previously signaled that first weekend sales could beat the record set with the launch of the iPhone 6 last year.

The sluggish stock would likely need that catalyst to climb higher. Apple shares are up about 4 percent this year, but dropped off significantly over the summer amid concerns about China, a key growth market.

Many market watchers have also noted that Apple faces challenging earnings reports later this year, when it could report iPhone sales lower than the blowout numbers it posted last year. Still, Ives sees a "massive growth opportunity" as more existing iPhone users start to upgrade their devices.

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Apple shares closed about a quarter of a percent lower Friday.