The iPhone 5 was the bestselling smartphone in the U.S. market in the December quarter and gave Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) product margins over the three-month period a significant boost, Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley has said. The analyst added that the Apple smartphone’s demand-supply balance had finally been reached.
“Our December wireless store surveys indicated strong sales of the top-selling iPhone 5 at AT&T (NYSE:T)/Verizon (NYSE:VZ)/Sprint (NYSE:S),” Walkley wrote in a note to investors, according to Forbes. “Our surveys further indicated improved overall supply of the iPhone 5 with essentially all stores offering all SKUs of the iPhone 5. We believe the iPhone 5 was the top selling smartphone at AT&T/Sprint/Verizon and overall the best selling smartphone in the U.S. market.”
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Because of the high sales of what is essentially Apple’s highest-margin product, Walkley felt that the company’s guidance for that particular statistic for the quarter was too conservative. “Given our estimative for a 79 percent sequential unit increase in iPhone sales that represent Apple’s highest-margin hardware product line, we believe Apple’s December quarter gross margin guidance of 36 percent could prove conservative, and we are modeling 39.1 percent,” he added.
However, because sales of the older iPhone 4 had also been strong, Walkley, who has a price target of $750 on Apple’s stock, lowered the company’s earnings per share estimate for the fiscal 2013 to $50.25 from $51.95.
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