Analysts at Brean Capital must have been really impressed with Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) Worldwide Developer's Conference because the firm published a note Friday saying the tech giant could see five straight quarters of incremental iPhone 7-induced catalysts.
Despite the projected tailwinds, Brean Capital analysts reduced Action Alerts PLUS holding Apple's June and September quarters' revenue and earnings-per-share estimates due to flagging iPhone sales. The firm believes Apple will sell 40 million iPhones in each quarter, below Wall Street's consensus for 42 million. Brean Capital still expects Apple to sell 70 million iPhones in the holiday December quarter.
Apple has a reputation for sandwiching truly breakthrough iPhone releases between placeholder device releases. The iPhone 7 is widely seen as one of those placeholders while the iPhone 8 could be the can't-miss device that Apple fans are really waiting for.
Thus the holiday quarter following the release of the iPhone 7, expected in September of this year, plus the anticipated early release of the iPhone 8, could be the kick that sends Apple to new heights, according to Brean analysts.
"The good news is that we believe that ship-out is bottoming in the June [quarter], and that come [the December quarter] AAPL could be facing at least five consecutive quarters of incremental iPhone catalysts," analysts Ananda Baruah and Shenlun Wang wrote in today's note.
The iPhone 7 exits in the September quarter, and the analysts believe the iPhone 8 is likely to be shipped in mid-June or July 2017, as opposed to AAPL's typical September cadence. While anticipation of the potential fall release of the new iPhone 7 could outperform soft expectations, the firm is really looking ahead to the release of the iPhone 8.
As a result, Brean maintained its $125 price target, which represents potential 28% upside from the stock's previous closing price, and Buy rating.
While Brean's note focused on Apple's hardware, the company's annual week-long developer's conference focused mainly on software improvements.
The company unveiled updates for the operating systems of multiple platforms this week, including mobile (iOS 10), laptops and desktops (macOS Sierra), Apple TV (tvOS 10), and Apple Watch (watchOS 3).
Brean's semi-bullish note today wasn't enough to save the company from and end-of-week dip following a Forbes report -- confirmed by The Wall Street Journal -- that said the Beijing Intellectual Property Bureau ordered the company to halt the sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The ruling was based on a judgement that the ubiquitous mobile device infringed on a design patent held by little-known Chinese device manufacturer Shenzen Baili.
Those rumors caused the stock to dip more than a point in Friday trading. The stock has been unable to recover even after Action Alerts PLUS co-manager Jim Cramer shot the rumor down during CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" Friday morning. Apple stock closed down 2.3% Friday at $95.33 and is down a fraction of a percentage point in after-hours trading.
"Apple is hardly devoid of risks, yet the stock price more than reflects this with shares trading under 10x forward earnings per share against the backdrop of a high return on equity, rock-solid balance sheet, mix shift toward its high-growth, highly recurring and high-margin Services business and a myriad of catalysts in the back half of the year and beyond (the most prominent being the iPhone 7 launch in September)," Cramer and AAP portfolio co-manager Jack Mohr wrote in a note today.
Despite these headwinds, Cramer and Mohr agree with Brean's positive long-term outlook, saying that the greatest obstacle to the company's long-term value creation is the fundamental short-sighted nature of the market.
"Although the path to value creation will inevitably take time, we continue to view Apple as a stock that should be owned, not traded," Cramer and Mohr concluded.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published at 3:43 p.m. EDT on Real Money on June 17.