updated 03:30 pm EST, Thu December 9, 2010
Android competition tempers expectations
(Updated with corrected Stifel Nicolaus info) Two analysts have raised their price targets for Apple stock, says Fortune. Stifel Nicolaus' Doug Reid has pushed his target from $360 to $390, working on "increased confidence" of a Verizon iPhone shipping in early 2011. He suggests that a mid-February release date could generate an extra 800,000 iPhone sales for the year versus a mid-March date, making for an adjusted total figure of 63.3 million.
Merrill Lynch's Scott Craig has increased his price target from $415 to $420. "We expect a Verizon iPhone to be introduced in early C2011," he notes. Craig expects Apple to gain an extra 6 million iPhones through Verizon in 2011, and 8 million more in 2012. Even this is a conservative estimate, he comments.
"Historically," writes Craig, "when the iPhone has been added to a second carrier in a country (France, Norway, Canada, UK, etc), iPhone shipments increased nearly 1:1 with subscriber base, indicating minimal/no share loss at the incumbent carrier." The conservativeness stems from the threat of Android smartphones, which now compete with the iPhone in features and are Verizon's primary sellers. Craig also notes that some Verizon sales may still cannibalize AT&T's numbers.