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Apple iPhone 12 Gets a Tentative Thumbs Up From Wall Street

Apple’s iPhone 12 receives a thumbs up from Wall Street analysts, who praise the lineup of 5G-enabled phones but remain cautious on what demand will look like.

Apple’s  (AAPL) - Get Free Report much-anticipated iPhone 12 lineup revealed Tuesday received a generally tentative set of upward thumbs from Wall Street analysts, who praised the advent of 5G and the pricing of the handsets but were slightly more suspect of how much demand there will be for the new models.

Apple on Tuesday unveiled four different iPhone models, including the iPhone 12 mini, a 5.4-inch model starting at $699; a 6.1-inch device starting at $799, a 6.1-inch Pro model starting at $999, and a 6.7-inch pro model starting at $1,099.

Apple also introduced its HomePod Mini smart speaker, which includes a touch panel on its top for play/pause and volume options, along with a light-up display to indicate use of the Siri assistant.

“The pricing dynamics are the killer app for the phone launch,” Piper Sandler analyst Harsh Kumar wrote in a note to clients. “Pricing was lower than our expectation, which is important in the current global pandemic.”

“iPhone 12 mini hits the magic $699 price point,” Loup Ventures’ Gene Munster wrote on Twitter. “That’s a big deal and slightly expands iPhone’s addressable market. This is the first time in 7 years (iPhone 5S) that smaller form factor is part of flagship lineup.”

Wedbush Securities’ Daniel Ives also expressed optimism that the pricing lineup would be enough to convince current iPhone owners to upgrade, noting that “350 million of 950 million iPhones worldwide are currently in the window of an upgrade opportunity,” which he believes will “translate into an unprecedented upgrade cycle,” particularly in China.

Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall also was impressed with the iPhone lineup additions, noting in his own research note that Apple’s iPhone event had a "few unexpected twists," including the introduction of the iPhone 12 mini and Magsafe charging, though he is keeping his sell rating on the stock with an $80 price target.

Jefferies analyst Kyle McNealy said Apple is also likely to benefit from carrier subsidies. At the moment, carriers aren't discounting and offering subsidies to recruit customers. However, carriers are going to need to add 5G users to utilize the capacity that has been built up through 2020, McNealy wrote in his own note.

Other analysts including Morgan Stanley’s Kathryn Huberty and Needham’s Laura Martin spoke in actions vs. words, raising their respective one-year price targets on Apple. 

Martin assigned a buy rating to Apple and set a price target of $140, while Huberty maintained her overweight rating on the shares, though raised her one-year target to $136 from $130. 

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro come out on October 23, while the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max arrive November 13. The first two models are available for pre-order on October 16, while the second pair go on pre-sale November 6.

Shares of Apple were up 1.45% at $122.85 in trading on Wednesday. The stock ended the trading day Tuesday down 2.65% at $121.10.