With the iPhone still Apple’s primary way of making money, it’s no surprise that Wall Street analysts and investors view iPhone sales as the most important indicator of Apple’s financial health. So even though Apple saw an increase in revenue last quarter, not to mention increasing its earnings per share from $1.90 to $2.20 year-on-year, the 1% drop in iPhone sales last quarter prompted shares of Apple to drop a bit in after-hours trading and on the day following its earnings release.
Since then, Apple’s share price has not only rebounded, it has ascended to record-setting heights. At the close of trading on Friday, Apple shares were trading at $148.96, amounting to a 41.8% increase over the last six months. Clearly, Wall St. is less concerned with the “pause” in iPhone sales Apple experienced last quarter and more excited by the prospects of what the iPhone 8 will do for Apple’s bottom line. And speaking to how impactful investors believe the iPhone 8 will be, Apple’s share price has been seemingly unaffected by a slew of reports suggesting that the iPhone 8 release date may be pushed back as far as November. In any other year, such news would likely send Apple shares tumbling.
Quantifying the optimism surrounding the iPhone 8, MacRumors got its hands on research notes from 19 individual analysts in the wake of Apple’s Q2 earnings report. Impressively, 15 of the 19 analysts believe shares of Apple will appreciate considerably in the months ahead. More specifically, 12 analysts believe Apple shares will hit a minimum price of $160. On the bullish side of the equation, analysts Brian White and Robert Cihra believe Apple shares will hit $185 and $180, respectively. On the bearish end of the spectrum, Sherri Scribner of Deutsche Bank believes Apple shares will fall to $130 while Mark Moskowitz of Barclays sees Apple shares falling all the way down to $123.
While trying to time the market is a tried and true way to lose a lot of money quickly, the broader takeaway here is that the iPhone is poised for a huge resurgence. Though iPhone sales have been robust in recent years, the last time Apple saw a spectacular increase in iPhone growth was back when it released the iPhone 6 in 2014. The iPhone 8 is in a good position to change that, however. Aside from introducing a new form factor to a design that has arguably outworn its welcome, the current installed base of iPhone users looking to upgrade is greater today than at any other point in history. Accordingly, many analysts are anticipating that iPhone 8 will prompt a “super cycle” refresh that will leave Apple scrambling to meet unprecedented demand.
Think of it this way: if the iPhone 7 — with no new form factor or revolutionary new features — managed to keep iPhone sales steady, just imagine what the iPhone 8 — with a brand new form factor and a slew of new features — will do once it finally starts shipping.