Apple (AAPL - Get Report) faces mounting pressure to unveil some meaningful iPhone improvements and features at next week's big "Innovation Only" event in order to jazz up flagging sales, a pair of new analyst reports suggest.
Analysts at Deutsche Bank are looking for Apple to pull out a surprise or two at the Sept. 10 event, beyond the upgrades and new features that are already widely anticipated in the market, to keep iPhone sales on track.
The good news for Apple is that the expectations bar has been set low, so the tech giant doesn't have to roll out any dramatic new initiatives to have an impact.
This could "set up both consumers and investors to be pleasantly surprised if AAPL is able to maintain secrecy on features still undisclosed by the media/supply chain," the Deutsche Bank report notes.
Even so, analysts at the bank remain concerned, noting iPhone unit sales were down 15% year to date in fiscal 2019.
Deutsche Bank is maintaining its hold rating on Apple stock, with a price target of $210.
Shares of Apple were up 1.96% on Thursday to $213.28.
"We continue to worry that iPhone units will continue to exhibit downward y/y trends in FY20, though we do see FY19 as potentially setting up easier comps," the Deutsche Bank analysts wrote.
By contrast, analysts at PiperJaffray view Apple's annual new product reveal next week as little more than an "uneventful" holding action until the tech company's new line of 5G iPhones hits the market in the second half of 2020.
PiperJaffray is maintaining its current, overweight rating on Apple, with a price of $243.
"Looking at the remainder of FY19, we expect limited excitement around this year's iPhones (to be announced on 9/10)," the PiperJaffray report notes. "However, as long as services and non-iPhone devices continue to perform well, this should tide investors over until anticipation for 5G iPhones intensifies."
Analysts at the firm say their optimism is based on a PiperJaffray survey that found 23% of iPhone users would shell out $1,200 for Apple's new, 5G iPhone when it rolls out next year, up from 18% just a few months ago.
"Given the high price point and relatively limited marketing of 5G by device makers or carriers to date, this is a relatively positive result," PiperJaffray notes.