Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley expects strong sales for Apple’s iPhone during the fourth quarter based upon financial reports and store surveys of customer demand and product availability, he said Friday in a note to investors. His revised predictions call for 48.2 million units, backed by a strong iPhone 5 push and adequate supply.
Mr. Walkley predicts a strong quarter for the smartphone industry overall, but his research showed that the iPhone 5 was the top-selling smartphone in the U.S. throughout the quarter, although Android-based handsets closed the gap in December. There were also strong sales of the older and cheaper iPhone 4 and 4S models, the report claims.
Strong demand, a fast rollout to over 240 carriers in 100 countries, and a high profit margin on the device led Mr. Walkley to revise his margin guidance for the Cupertino company. He now predicts December quarter gross margins of 39.1 percent, up from 36 percent.
Going forward, strong sales of iPhones at all price-points, the almost certain launch of the next generation iPhone, and the possible launch of a lower-cost iPhone (although those rumors are in question after comments from Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller), lead Mr. Walkley to predict 169 million iPhone units sales for 2013.
Overall, Canaccord believes that Apple is still a good investment, and reiterated its “buy” rating with a $750 price target. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is currently trading at 519.93, down 3.58 (0.68 percent) from its Friday open.