Canacccord Raises AAPL on Strong iPad Pre-orders

Apple’s pre-orders for the third generation iPad hit record territory, according to research from Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley. He’s now raising his target price for the company’s stock from US$665 up to $710 based on those pre-sales and the expectation that demand for the new iPad model will remain strong after it starts shipping this Friday.

Third gen iPad pre-orders exceeded analyst expectationsThird gen iPad pre-orders exceeded analyst expectations

“Since we attended the iPad launch last week, our checks have indicated record pre-orders with wait times for shipping iPad models now reaching two to three weeks,” Mr. Walkley said. “Given the new iPad’s leading hardware specs and iOS developer and application ecosystems versus all tablet competitors, we anticipate Apple will continue to dominate both market and value share of the growing tablet market in [calendar year] 2012-13.”

The iPad’s price point will help drive continued consumer interest with the 16GB Wi-Fi only model coming in at $499, and $629 for the 16GB Wi-Fi plus LTE model.

Apple introduced the successor to the iPad 2 last week at a special media event in San Francisco. The new model comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities, and includes a high resolution Retina Display, Apple’s A5X processor with quad-core graphics, a 5 megapixel camera, and some models also offer LTE wireless data support.

Based on current demand expectations, Mr. Walkley is raising his iPad sales estimate for this year from 55.9 million units up to 65.6 million. For 2013, he expects Apple will sell some 90.6 million iPads, up from his earlier estimate of 79.7 million.

Mr. Walkley’s $710 target price for Apple’s stock comes with a “Buy” rating. Apple is currently trading $582.12, up 14.02 (2.47%).