Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares raced back to all-time highs Monday amid optimism concerning its imminent hardware releases.
The Apple Analyst: Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives maintained an Outperform rating and $185 price target on Apple shares.
The Apple Thesis: Wedbush's Asia supply chain checks for the second half indicates iPhone builds between 130 million and 150 million, with the iPhone 13 accounting for 35%-45% of iPhone builds in the third quarter, analyst Ives said in a note.
The positive outlook, the analyst said, gives him enhanced confidence that the 2021 launch timing will be "normal." The current iPhone 13 launch is slated for the third week in September, he added.
The current 10% higher Asia supply chain builds for iPhone 13 relative to the initial iPhone 12 reads shows increased confidence this 5G driven product cycle will extend well into 2022 and should also benefit from a post-vaccine consumer "reopening environment," Ives said.
The analyst reiterated his expectations for the iPhone 13 coming with 1 terabyte storage option and having a number of key enhancements, with lidar across all iPhone 13 models.
"With roughly 20% of upgrades anticipated out of China, we are continuing to see robust demand in this key region which bodes well heading into the iPhone 13 upgrade cycle," Ives said.
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On the regulatory front, App Store remains a very defendable moat both in the courts and in the Beltway, the analyst said. Apple remains more on the edge rather than the center of the anti-trust spider web with Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) more in the spotlight, he added.
Investors continue to view the pending verdict from the Epic lawsuit as a containable regulatory risk that is not precluding them from owning Apple shares into this next phase of the iPhone supercycle, the analyst said.
Apple, the analyst said, remains a top tech name to own.
"Our favorite large cap tech name to play the 5G transformational cycle is Apple, with the 1-2 punch of its massive services business and iPhone product cycle translating into a $3 trillion market cap for Cupertino in the next 6 to 12 months," Wedbush said.
AAPL Price Action: Apple shares were edging down 0.71% to $150.04 Tuesday afternoon.
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