Updated from 8:49 a.m. to include news about Apple's holiday deals in the fifth paragraph.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) –– Apple (AAPL) is poised to win Black Friday and perhaps the holiday shopping season as the world's largest company pushes perhaps its strongest product lineup ever featuring the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White notes that Apple's portfolio refresh, which began in September with the new iPhones, coupled with the lack of innovation from Samsung and Google (GOOGL) , should help Apple "shine bright this holiday season." A strengthening economy and weaker gas prices have also bolstered consumer spending, White adds.
With larger screens coupled with innovations such as Apple Pay, consumers have been taking to the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in droves, and White says those two advances will help make this lineup Apple's most popular iPhone lineup ever. "We believe Apple's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will prove more popular this holiday season than any iPhone in Apple's history given the distinctive features that include a much larger screen size (i.e., 4.7-inch, 5.5-inch vs. 4-inch on the iPhone 5s), sleeker form factor, enhanced screen resolution (iPhone 6 Plus) and the ability to use Apple Pay," White wrote in a research note.
Black Friday and the holiday shopping season as a whole is expected to be similar in profile when it comes to electronic gifts, with the Consumer Electronics Association forecasting an 2.% increase in electronics spending for the 2014 holiday shopping season. As a whole, the National Retail Federation is forecasting $616.9 billion in total spending, up 4.1% from a year ago. The average person will spend $804.42 on holiday gifts this year with 35% of respondents to an NRF survey hoping they'll receive electronics as gifts.
On Sunday, Apple sent out a press release noting that Apple customers would receive a special edition (RED) iTunes gift card with the purchase of select Apple products, as part of the company's campaign for the 2014 World AIDS Campaign. In addition, on Dec. 1, Apple announced it will donate a portion of every sale at Apple's retail and online stores to help combat AIDS.
In September, Apple noted it sold more than 10 million new iPhone units in the first weekend it was available, and has previously said that it is selling every iPhone 6 it can make. "At this point, we're selling everything we made," CEO Timothy D. Cook said on Apple's fiscal fourth quarter earnings call. Cook noted that Apple has "done a pretty good job" managing the split of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but said the iPhone 6 Plus is still supply constrained. "But I'll stop short of saying there is no issue at all, because it's hard to tell when you are at a point where you are selling everything you are making. It is a good problem to have."
Additionally, the company's latest tablets, the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3, unveiled in October, are likely to be the 'go to' tablets this year, White noted, helped in part by a gold colored iPad. "This is the first holiday season that consumers will be able to purchase a gold-colored iPad, and we expect this extra touch of "bling" to prove popular across the malls of America," White penned in the note.
Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has also recently refreshed its Mac lineup, which has showed strength throughout the year, giving Apple its highest PC market share since 1995, Cook noted on the earnings call. In April, Apple cut the starting price of the MacBook Air to $899, and has recently introduced new iMacs starting at $1,099, and the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display, which starts at $2,499. Though the higher-priced iMac is likely to be out of the reach of most consumers this holiday season, White expects "the remainder of the Mac portfolio to be fair game, especially the MacBook Air."
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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