While some tech pundits were pronouncing the iPhone 4S a dud, most Wall Street analysts called it an important upgrade with a new software feature, Siri, that would assure its success. Two analysts, UBS’s Maynard Um and Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu, issued research notes on Monday pointing to pre-order sellouts as evidence that the iPhone 4S will be the most successful iPhone launch to date.
Apple and its U.S. iPhone carriers all announced that their collective stock of pre-order iPhones were sold out over the weekend, and Apple announced on Monday that more than one million iPhones had been ordered on the first day alone. That broke the record for one-day iPhone sales of 600,000 units, which was set by the iPhone 4 when it was announced in 2010.
“While the 3GS sold a million units in its first 3 days,” Maynard Um told clients, “we expect 4S to well exceed this in its first day and expect continued strong sales into the holidays.”
He added, “We believe these data points should ease concern over 4S demand and expect further major carrier launch expansion beyond this year to be catalysts. We continue to view our estimates as conservative, particularly as the pre-order data does not include any iPhone 4 and 3GS demand, which we believe are also strong.”
Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee said that the strong pre-sale numbers, “should help alleviate concern that the iPhone 4S could do poorly.”
Looking ahead for the rest of the quarter, he wrote, “While it is still early, we are comfortable with our December quarter iPhone forecast looking for 24 million units.”
That would be a record quarter, as Apple announced earlier this year that it sold 22.5 million iPhones during the June quarter, setting a new record. The company announces results for the September quarter later this month.
Both analysts maintained their “Buy” rating on AAPL, as well as their price targets. Maynard Um currently has a price target of US$510 per share, while Shaw Wu has his price target at $500.
Shares in Apple rose Monday, propelled in part y the pre-sale iPhone numbers. AAPL ended the day at $388.81, up $19.01 (+5.14%), on moderate volume of 15.8 million shares trading hands.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.