Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um raised his 12 month target value range for Apple's stock on Friday because the number of iPhone carrier deals the company has in place is on the rise. Currently, 323 cell service carriers offer the iPhone, up from 316 only a month ago. His target range is now between US$595 and $640, up from $515 and $585.
More iPhone carriers means more money all the way around, according to Wells Fargo
"Apple started adding more carriers but seems to have gotten more aggressive in the last six months on a relative basis," Mr. Um told investors.
Instead of driving up iPhone 5S sales, however, Mr. Um sees the new carriers as a catalyst for Apple's lower price smartphone offerings because of their smaller sizes.
While this may continue to skew the mix toward lower end iPhones, the full seasonality impact on units could be mitigated to a modest degree on sell-in during the June quarter. Assuming these carriers also get the new iPhone at launch, this could help year over year unit sell-in numbers.
Mr. Um expects Apple will roll out new iPhone models this fall, just as it has in previous years. Those new models, rumored to sport a larger display and redesigned body that more closely matches the iPad mini, will help boost sales across all carriers and add to the company's bottom line.
Mr. Um's new $595 to $640 target value range for Apple's stock comes with a "Market Perform" rating. Apple is currently trading at $642.95, up 7.57 (1.19%).