With Apple's September 9 media event only days away, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says two iPhone models are coming with NFC support and a digital payment system may be announced, but he puts the odds on an iWatch announcement at 50 percent. He also expects first weekend iPhone 6 sales will be strong, but won't beat last year's 9 million unit iPhone launch.
Analyst says iWatch may not be part of Apple's September 9 announcements
In a note to investors, Mr. Munster said the timing for next week's hardware announcements was set based on the payment feature that will be announced. Mr. Munster stopped short of calling it a full-on payment platform, but did say the iPhone is at the heart of whatever the electronic payment scheme will be.
Mr. Munster said,
We believe the iPhone will be the driver behind Apple’s payments platform, not the iWatch, thus we view it as unlikely that they would announce payments with the iWatch instead of the iPhone.
His iPhone predictions have Apple introducing the iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch display and the iPhone 6L with a 5.5-inch display. Both will include a more powerful Apple-designed A8 processor, more RAM, a better camera, and better battery life, too. The rumored sapphire display will be limited to only the top-of-the-line iPhone 6L.
Mr. Munster said there's a 70 percent chance Apple will announce a payment feature at the media event, but isn't expecting a payment platform. The new iPhones will also include a Near Field Communications chip (NFC), too, which may tie into the payment features.
First weekend sales will hit 6.5 million, according to Mr. Munster's expectations, and that the sapphire display model will account for 30 percent of those iPhone sales. He added that first weekend sales figures could hit 14 million if Apple fills the sales channel with devices ahead of the official launch.
His expectations for the iWatch, or another wearables announcement, aren't so high, which goes against reports that Apple does have an announcement ready to go. The general consensus is that Apple will unveil its wearable tech next week, but it won't be available for purchase until 2015.
Mr. Munster is raising his target price for Apple's stock from US$105 up to $120. Apple is currently trading at $103.50, up 1.00 (0.98%).
[Thanks to Fortune for the heads up]