Quick: What do iPhone sales and Apple stock have in common?
Both keep going up, up, up. Twenty-two years after Apple first went public, shares in the company hit $700 yesterday, a record for the Cupertino tech giant. And Apple stock could climb higher still. According to Scott Martin of USA Today, of the 40 analysts covering Apple, 39 have rated it a “buy” or “strong buy,” with only one analyst recommending a hold. The reason? Apple is expected to ship a whole lot of iPhone 5 handsets.
As we notedyesterday, Apple has announced that 2 million iPhone 5 pre-orders were placed in the first 24 hours the device was available. That’s approximately double the number of pre-orders placed for the iPhone 4S(which, admittedly, was less of an overhaul and more of a touch-up to the iPhone 4), and so high that Apple was forced to acknowledge that some pre-orders may not ship until well into October.
“Given the record pre-orders, we believe Apple could ship 9 million to 10 million iPhone 5 models by Sept. 29, or the last day of fiscal 2012, vs. our initial 6 million estimate,” Michael Walkley, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, told USA Today.
So yes, it’s going to be a nice couple months for Apple and its shareholders. But is the iPhone 5 a good enough device to warrant all this hype? Well, that’s a different question entirely. Early hands-on tests (we’ve got a compendium here) were largely positive: Reviewers liked the amped-up processor, the bigger and better screen, and the snappy iOS 6 operating system.
Still, Apple didn’t exactly reinvent the smartphone with the iPhone 5, which bears a pretty close resemblance to the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4. “The device,” Ellyne Phneah of ZDNet recently noted, “is a disappointment because it merely matches up to its competitors and showcases nothing revolutionary.”