APPLE Target $600

AAPL :

NASDAQ : US$526.24
BUY  Target: US$600.00

COMPANY DESCRIPTION: Apple designs, manufactures, and sells PCs, portable digital music players, and mobile communication devices, along with related software, services, peripherals, and networking solutions globally. The company was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Cupertino, California.
All amounts in US$ unless otherwise noted.

Technology — Communications Technology — Wireless Equipment MWC MEETINGS AND FEBRUARY WIRELESS SURVEYS:

ANTICIPATE 2H/C2014 IPHONE MARKET SHARE GAINS 

Investment recommendation:

While a host of new Android LTE smartphones for C2014 were introduced at MWC, our meetings suggested the maturity of the high-end smartphone market with the lack of innovation in the new high- end Android models. Given the lack of differentiated Android smartphones, we believe Apple could gain market share of the high-end smartphone and tablet markets during 2H/2014 based on our belief new iPhones and iPads with larger screen sizes could create a strong upgrade cycle among Apple’s loyal base. In fact, our February wireless store surveys indicated the iPhone 5s was still the most aspirational smartphone and the top selling device in the U.S. and in many international markets despite seasonally slower sales trends. Given these trends, we increase our F’14/F’15 iPhone and iPad unit estimates. We maintain our BUY rating and raise our price target to $600.  Investment highlights  Following our MWC meetings and after evaluating feature sets for a host of new Android LTE smartphones introduced during the show, we believe Android OEMs have only added incremental improvements to their prior generation smartphones. For example, the announced Galaxy S5 is another solid product from Samsung but more incremental to the Galaxy S4 than a compelling upgrade. Please see our separate MWC report published today, titled ‘MWC Meetings focus on Internet of Things, China TD-LTE, smartphone innovation and IP licensing’ for additional details.  Our Feb U.S. surveys indicated the iPhone 5s was the top selling U.S. smartphone. However, our surveys indicated certain carrier upgrade policies were more strictly enforced and adversely impacted the near-term uptake of the increasingly popular early upgrade or smartphone leasing type of plans. Based on our surveys, we anticipate stronger take-up rates for these plans once current subscribers reach the end of their 24-month contracts. Given strong iPhone and iPad customer loyalty, we believe a new larger screen iPhone and iPad should create a very strong upgrade cycle in North America, especially given the timing of grandfathering in 2 year plans and globally given the popularity of larger screen smartphones and tablets.   Given these trends, we slightly increase our F2014/F2015 iPhone and iPad estimates resulting in our F’14/F’15 EPS estimates from $42.86/$47.56 to $42.92/$49.96. Valuation: Our $600 (was $570) price target is based on shares trading at 12x our F2015 EPS estimate.

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