Apple's cheaper iPhone XR is going to be a 'home run,' Gene Munster says

  • The iPhone XS Max may have stolen the show at Apple's product launch, but the lower-price-point iPhone XR is the unsung hero of the day, analysts say.
  • In order to get the average selling price below $800, Loup Ventures' Gene Munster says he assumed "massive adoption" of the iPhone XR, and "even with a home run R, it still sets this up as an ASP story."

The large screen of the iPhone XS Max may have stolen the show at Apple's product launch, but the lower-price-point iPhone XR is the unsung hero of the day, analysts say.

"The real product, I think, is going to be this R version," Loup Ventures' Gene Munster said on CNBC's "Fast Money." "I think the R is going to be a home run. I think that's the correct way to model it."

Apple unveiled its newest iPhones on Wednesday: the iPhone XR, starting at $749; iPhone XS, starting at $999, and iPhone XS Max, starting at $1,099. The XR comes in colorful aluminum finishes and features a 6.1-inch, edge-to-edge LCD display. It is missing some key features that the other phones have, but still runs on faster processors than previous versions and offers enhanced camera settings — and at a lower price.

Gerber Kawasaki president and CEO Ross Gerber said the lower-cost iPhone XR is a smart move for Apple to target price-conscious consumers.

"Millennials are very price conscious — they count every penny, so I think that by offering the lower-end phone that looks like the higher-end phone, that's a smart move for Apple," Gerber said Wednesday on CNBC's "Closing Bell."

The iPhone XR does start at a lower price than last year's $1,000 iPhone X, but Angelo Zino, analyst at CFRA Research, pointed out that $750 is still a higher starting point than past generations of the iPhone.

"When you ... look at some of the Street estimates that are out there, I think they're really underestimating the upside to average selling prices here for that all-important December quarter, as well as for the upcoming fiscal year," Zino said Wednesday on CNBC's "Closing Bell."

Last year when Apple debuted the iPhone X, insiders and analysts balked at the $1,000 price tag. But the iPhone X has since helped boost profits for Apple, even as iPhone unit sales continue to flatten. Last quarter, the pricier iPhone X helped increase the iPhone's average selling price (ASP) to $724, which was well above expectations.

Munster said that in spite of the lower price on the iPhone XR, he sees the average selling price of iPhones only rising. He said he had trouble modeling a scenario in which the ASP fell below $800.

When "we modeled this out for fiscal 2019, for next year, it became progressively clear to us that these [ASP] numbers are going higher and potentially much higher," Munster said.

In order to get the average selling price below $800, Munster said he had to assume "massive adoption" of the iPhone XR, and "even with a home run R, it still sets this up as an ASP story over the next few quarters."

"And I think that is the true mastery of today's event ... three main products, nine [items for sale] within that, that are just finding ways of increasing ASP," Munster said.

The iPhone XS and XS Max will be available for preorder on Friday. They will ship on Sept. 21. The iPhone XR will be available for preorder on Oct. 19 and will ship a week later.