While there are no official numbers, it appears that Apple's (AAPL 0.68%) latest iPhone 12 lineup is breaking records as far as sales are concerned. That's not surprising; the 5G-enabled devices were expected to kick off a supercycle for Apple by enticing millions of existing users to upgrade.
Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives had pointed out last month that iPhone 12 preorders were tracking at double the rate of the iPhone 11. What's more, he also stated that Apple could ship close to 90 million units of the device by the end of the year given the initial sales response. He was previously anticipating iPhone 12 sales in the ballpark of 65 million to 70 million units.
And given that there are an estimated 350 million iPhones in an upgrade window across the globe, sales of the iPhone 12 could remain strong going into 2021. Buying Apple stock is one way to take advantage of this growth, as iPhones accounted for half of the company's revenue in the last fiscal year. But there's a better way to play the iPhone supercycle: through Cirrus Logic (CRUS 0.36%). Let's see why.
The iPhone 12 is lifting Cirrus Logic
Apple is Cirrus Logic's biggest growth driver. The iPhone maker accounts for 82% of its total revenue, according to Cirrus' latest quarterly report. As a result, the iPhone 12's success is likely to have a bigger impact on the finances of the audio codec specialist given it is not as diversified as its largest customer.
Moreover, history tells us that the success of Apple's products and the inclusion of Cirrus' chips into more offerings from the Cupertino-based tech giant have rubbed off positively on the latter in the past. Teardowns of the new devices by iFixit reveal the presence of multiple Cirrus Logic chips inside them, so a spike in the production of the latest iPhone generation bodes well for the chipmaker.
In fact, Cirrus Logic anticipates a sharp turnaround in its prospects in the current quarter thanks to the popularity of the new iPhones. The chipmaker has guided for $440 million to $480 million in revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2021, which would represent a year-over-year increase of 23% at the midpoint of the guidance range. For some perspective, its revenue in the first six months of the fiscal year was down nearly 6% year over year to $589.9 million.
So the iPhone 12 lineup turned out to be the big catalyst that Cirrus was waiting for, and don't be surprised to see the chipmaker ride Apple's coattails for the foreseeable future. That's because Apple is expected to sell between 210 million units to 230 million units of the iPhone 12 in the current fiscal year that ends in October 2021, according to Wall Street estimates.
The last time Apple moved that many units in a single calendar year was 2015, when just over 231 million iPhones were shipped. That turned out to be a terrific year for Cirrus Logic as well. Its revenue in the corresponding fiscal year increased 27% over the prior year and net income more than doubled.
A similar trend could unfold again given the initial sales momentum of the iPhone 12 lineup. Not surprisingly, all the analysts covering Cirrus stock have raised their earnings estimates for the next two fiscal years, according to Yahoo! Finance.
Is the stock still a buy?
Cirrus Logic stock has run up significantly in the last three months thanks to the iPhone 12's reception and its terrific quarterly report.
As a result, the stock has become richly valued, with a price-to-earnings ratio of over 31 that exceeds its five-year average multiple of 22.8. But a forward earnings multiple of 19 points toward impressive bottom-line growth, which Cirrus should be capable of achieving thanks to a major boost from iPhone 12.
So if you're looking to take advantage of Apple's booming iPhone 12 sales, it isn't too late to buy Cirrus Logic just yet. A major iPhone upgrade cycle seems to be in motion that could help the audio chip supplier remain a top growth stock and deliver more upside.