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The new iPhones will be Apple’s most successful ever, says analyst Ives

  • GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives starts coverage for Apple shares with a "highly attractive" rating, predicting record iPhone unit sales next year.
  • "We believe the iPhone X product cycle could be the strongest iPhone product cycle to date," Ives writes.

The new iPhone X will drive Apple's smartphone sales to a new record, according to one Wall Street firm.

GBH Insights started coverage for Apple shares with a "highly attractive" rating, predicting the company will report better-than-expected iPhone unit sales next year.

"We believe the iPhone X product cycle could be the strongest iPhone product cycle to date," head of technology research Daniel Ives wrote in a note to clients Monday. "While supply chain issues will elongate the iPhone X upgrade cycle well into FY18, we believe seeing the 'forest through the trees' will translate into this super cycle upgrade being a major growth catalyst for Apple (and its investors) over the coming year."

People take photos as a woman tests out a new iPhone X during a media event at Apple's new headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 12, 2017.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images
People take photos as a woman tests out a new iPhone X during a media event at Apple's new headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 12, 2017.

This is Ives' first report for GBH Insights. Previously, he was a widely followed technology analyst at FBR Capital Markets.

The iPhone X will be available on Nov. 3 at a base model price of $999.

Ives initiated a price target range of $190 to $200 for Apple shares, representing 24 percent upside at the midpoint to Friday's close.

"In addition to a more robust upgrade in terms of form/function on iPhone X, we believe iPhone units will benefit from a massive iPhone installed base that is ~2 years old (or older)," he wrote.

He estimates there are more than 350 million users with an iPhone that is at least 2 years old, which is a big upgrade opportunity for Apple. He cited the firm's October survey, which revealed 93 percent of iPhone owners who plan to upgrade their phone during the next year will buy another iPhone.

"The last time we saw pent up installed base demand and consumer feedback mirroring (or close to) this was around the iPhone 6, which ultimately became a critical and unprecedented successful launch period for Apple," he wrote. "Our model assumes Apple sells more iPhones in the 12 months following the iPhone X and iPhone 8/8+ launch than the peak iPhone 6 upgrade cycle."

Ives predicts Apple will sell 265 million iPhones in fiscal 2018 versus the record 231 million iPhones in fiscal 2015.

Apple is one of the market's best-performing large-cap stocks this year. Its shares have rallied 36 percent through Friday versus the S&P 500's 14 percent gain.

The company's shares rose 1.5 percent Monday.