Analysts raise Apple forecast as competitors unveil new (and old) products

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Apple's price target has been lifted from $135 to $150 by analysts at Mizuho on Monday as its rivals rolled out a swathe of new products in Barcelona at the annual Mobile World Congress.

After a review of supply chain data for the iPhone carried out by the investment bank's Japan analysts, Mizuho said it was raising its procurement estimates for calendar year 2017 by 6 percent – or 12 million additional units – to a forecast total of 225 million units: an 11 percent increase over 2016's total.

"We further see potential for a significant product cycle later this year as the new device is likely to induce significant upgrades within the iPhone installed base of around 500-600 million devices," read the note.

"In all, we remain positive on the name on potential upside to estimates, improving sentiment and supportive valuation," added the analysts.

The next iteration of Apple's handset, the iPhone 8, is expected to be released this year with the analysts anticipating its launch to lead to a replacement spree of older versions of the product.

"Based on prior survey work findings around elongating upgrade cycles, we believe that aging devices within the installed could trigger a significant upgrade cycle in the near-term if product features represent material changes from the current line-up," noted the research, highlighting that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the device's release.

This year's Mobile World Congress could be interesting

Rumored features of the new device include a full screen display without a home button, 3-D facial recognition sensors, wireless charging and – once again – an improved camera.

The bullish note comes against the backdrop of the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where Apple's key competitors are vying to impress audiences with their latest product line-ups. The iPhone-maker has long avoided the world's largest mobile industry conference in favor of its proprietary events.

Amid the devices stealing the show this week are Huawei's P10 smartphone which was unveiled amid a dazzling display of lights and music and a relaunched version of Nokia's popular 3310 model from the early noughties, which the Finnish firm announced alongside three Nokia-branded Android smartphones.

Samsung, still reeling from the public relations disaster that accompanied the launch of its Note S7 smartphone last year, has pushed out the release of its widely anticipated Galaxy S8 for another month, giving its rivals a little breathing room to swipe further market share from the South Korean mobile behemoth.

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