Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley has raised his price target for Apple stock from $560 to $580, based on expectations for the iPhone 5s, the fifth-generation iPad, and a China Mobile iPhone. "Our global handset sell-through survey work indicates a significantly higher sell-through mix of iPhone 5s versus 5c that should benefit near-term ASPs [average selling prices] and [profit] margins," he writes in a new report for investors. "With our expectations for a full redesign for iPad 5 and increased near-term iPad 5 versus iPad Mini supplier build rates, we believe December quarter iPad sales mix will shift toward the iPad 5 versus iPad Mini. The iPhone and iPad mix shifts should result in stronger holiday quarter ASPs and margins versus consensus expectations," he continues.
For the 2014/2015 fiscal year, Walkley predicts that a China Mobile iPhone launch will boost March-quarter sales, and offset the normal post-holiday slump in Western markets. He also suggests that Apple is "well positioned to exceed forward consensus sales and margin estimates" despite an anticipation that iPhone 5c prices will go even lower to drive higher sales volumes.
Several US retailers have already cut 5c prices
. In China, the phone is selling for below retail cost on the gray market, suggesting that demand is relatively weak. The device is still selling well, however, and the iPhone 5s -- Apple's flagship -- is in extremely high demand.
Apple is due to announce new iPads at an October 22nd press event