NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's nearly impossible to get an Apple
(AAPL) iPhone 5s in champagne gold anywhere, as that particular model has proven to be Apple's most popular. While consumers may have a tough time getting one in the United States, looking abroad might prove more fruitful.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White is on a tour of Asia, and recently noted that retailers and resellers in Shenzhen, China, were carrying the champagne gold version of the iPhone 5s. "Surprisingly, the iPhone 5S was frequently available and in many cases the champagne gold was in stock," White wrote in a research note. "In some cases, the space gray colored iPhone 5S was out of stock but the champagne gold was available, exactly the opposite of what we have discussed in the U.S. market."
White rates Apple shares "buy" with a $777 price target, the highest on Wall Street.
A look on Apple's U.S. Web site shows the gold version of the iPhone 5s is available to ship in October, but does not mention a date. That fact is true for the space gray and silver models of the iPhone 5s as well. Conversely, ship dates for the iPhone 5c are much more defined, showing an available-to-ship date within 24 hours.
The iPhone 5c is largely the same phone as Apple's now defunct iPhone 5 - both use Apple's A6 chip. The iPhone 5s uses Apple's new A7 chip, as well as the M7 chip, which is used for motion sensor information.
White believes this is the case because Apple may have allocated more units of the gold iPhone 5s to the Chinese market than the U.S. market. Gold is considered to be a good luck color in China, symbolizing prosperity and wealth. Given the importance Apple CEO Tim Cook has placed on China for Apple's future, this may very well be the case.
There was plenty of speculation surrounding Apple's sales of 9 million new iPhone units during their opening weekend, and the breakdown of 5s and 5c sales. During White's trip, he noted that for every 10 new iPhones being sold in the Chinese market, 70% to 80% are iPhone 5s, and 20% to 30% are iPhone 5c units.
Apple doesn't break down sales of each model, simply choosing to report sales of the iPhone in one lump sum.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant is slated to report fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Oct. 28. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect Apple to earn $7.88 a share on $36.76 billion in revenue.
In conjunction with the announcement that Apple had sold more than 9 million new iPhones in their opening weekend, the company also raised guidance for the upcoming quarter. "Apple expects total company revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter to be near the high end of the previously provided range of $34 billion to $37 billion, and expects gross margin to be near the high end of the previously provided range of 36% to 37%," the company said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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