There's pent up demand for the iPhone 8, say analysts. Here's what that means for Apple

Key Points
  • Pent up demand for the iPhone 8 may hurt iPhone 7 sales this fall.
  • Apple is expected to rebound once the iPhone 8 launches, Citi and Instinet say in recent notes.
  • The increased average selling price of the new iPhone 8 is expected to help Apple, too.
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during a product launch event on Oct. 27, 2016, in Cupertino, Calif.
Stephen Lam | Getty Images

New analyst notes from Citi and Instinet suggest there's pent-up demand among consumers for the Apple iPhone 8, which is expected to launch this fall.

The demand for Apple's unannounced new smartphone may hurt sales of this year's iPhone 7 in the months leading up to the next iPhone's launch, the firms said.

"U.S. telcos indicate record-low upgrade rates have not eased further ahead of the iPhone 8," Nomura Instinet said Wednesday.

The company added that "assertive promotions" for the iPhone 8 and the "rich mix" of iPhone 8s models will also increase the average selling price of Apple's iPhones. The takeaway from Instinet's Jeffrey Kvaal is this: "A low bar provides plenty of runway for the shares." Instinet has a buy rating and a $165 price target on Apple.

A note from Citi analyst Jim Suva tells a similar story, though it's a little more cautionary. Suva said Apple CEO Tim Cook will need to "address a worse than seasonal downtick in iPhone demand given customers are awaiting a significant product launch, which typically occurs in September."

Still, Suva argues that some of the volatility before the iPhone 8 launch could "create a particularly attractive entry point in the months ahead." "We believe Apple can return to sustainable growth post iPhone 8," he added.

Citi warns that it still believes mass quantities of the most high-end iPhone 8 won't be available until October or November, attributing delays to manufacturing issues combining the iPhone 8's fingerprint reader with the display.

Citi describes several catalysts, including opportunities in Apple's booming services business and possible benefits related to the potential for President Donald Trump to lower repatriation tax rates.

Citi has a buy rating with a $160 price target on Apple.


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How Apple's iPhone has changed over the past 10 years
How Apple's iPhone has changed over the past 10 years