Another report surfaced today that suggests consumers are showing big interest in Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iPhone 6. Apple is rumored to be readying two versions of its next-generation iPhone: one with a 4.7-inch display and one with a phablet-like 5.5-inch display. With both phones larger than Apple's 4-inch flagship iPhone 5s, RBC set out to find out more about the potential demand for these devices. Based on a survey of 4,000 people by RBC Capital (via MacRumors), there were several telling conclusions.
Similar to the conclusions by Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt earlier this month, the most intriguing takeaway from RBC's study was that whether or not Apple enters phablet territory could have a huge influence on Apple's iPhone business' results in the coming fiscal year.
"[W]e also learned that screen size could materially impact sales, as 23% of participants surveyed are inclined to purchase a larger screen iPhone," the report said.
Forty nine percent of surveyed consumers who planned to buy a smartphone in the next three months said they wanted to buy an iPhone. Over a third of respondents were willing to pay the typical $199 subsidized price for the alleged 4.7-inch iPhone 6. But about a fourth of respondents said they would even pay an extra $100, or a subsidized $299, for a 5.5-inch iPhone 6.
With a solid percentage of surveyed consumers who plan to buy an iPhone in the next three months ready to buy the phablet-sized iPhone 6 and pay a premium price, such a move could work out nicely for Apple. Indeed, it has been rumored to be considering such pricing for the larger version of the new iPhone.
Looking at the broader implications of the RBC report, it's worth noting that more customers who wanted to buy a smartphone in the next three months wanted to buy an iPhone than any other phone. Samsung came in second with 37% of consumers saying they would buy one of the Korean company's smartphones.
RBC Capital says that this sort of iPhone demand could translate into a 15% to 20% year-over-year boost to iPhone sales in the year following launch. Such levels of unit sales growth would exceed the growth the iPhone business is seeing in fiscal 2014. In the first fiscal quarter of 2014, Apple reported year-over-year iPhone sales growth of about 7%. Last quarter, it was 17%.
For investors, all of this potential is meaningless without also considering the forward-looking assumptions already priced into Apple stock. At today's price around $91.50, there is very little growth priced into the stock. In fact, Apple's share repurchase program alone should help provide mid-single-digit EPS growth in the next 12 months, so this takes a bit of pressure off the outlook for Apple's product sales. Sure, at 15 times earnings, investors expect growth going forward. But 15% to 20% growth in unit sales in Apple's largest business is plenty to provide the earnings growth the Street expects -- maybe even more.
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