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What Apple's iPhone shortages are telling Wall Street

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Apple on the rise after releasing newest iPhone 02:08

Fans searching for Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 7 Plus will need not only $770 but patience, given the model is sold out globally. While that might disappoint consumers, Wall Street is getting interested.

The iPhone 7 Plus is sold out globally, while the smaller iPhone 7 in jet black is now unavailable, according to CNET. The first dozen or so fans who were disappointed after lining up at an Apple Store are reportedly receiving $100 gift cards from Apple. Consumers can still order the phone online or through their wireless carrier.

Apple is already facing issues with the iPhone 7 06:05

The demand for the iPhone 7 appears to be good news for Apple, although it’s unclear how many of the devices have actually sold. Apple, of course, is a master at drumming up hype for its expensive new products, partially by withholding information until it can make a splashy product announcement. Despite the lack of actual sales figures, investors have cheered Friday’s release by sending Apple shares up more than 11 percent since Monday.

“A number of recent data points suggest a better than expected iPhone 7 cycle,” wrote Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha in a research report earlier this week. 

Garcha raised his iPhone sales estimates to 215 million unit sales, up from an estimate of 208 million previously.

Apple, which has previously said it would stop providing first weekend sales, had indicated that the initial weekend wouldn’t provide a “meaningful” number of purchases, Garcha noted. Yet some wireless carriers had reported strong pre-orders, with T-Mobile and Sprint both experiencing a fourfold increase in demand.

“We note that this preorder success could also be attributed to carriers reintroducing a subsidy-like model, with all 4 major US carriers offering the iPhone 7 for free (paid off in 24-30 month installments) if the customer agrees to trade in their iPhone 6/6s and keeps the iPhone 7 active for 2 years,” Garcha noted.

The surge in Apple’s stock price is likely salve to long-term investors, given that the company’s shares had dipped well below $100 earlier this year. Increased rivalry from lower-cost smartphone maker Xiaomi had raised concerns that Apple wouldn’t be able to keep the same pace of revenue growth as it has in the past.

There’s another reason why Apple might be seeing an unexpectedly strong boost: Samsung’s troubles with its Galaxy Note7 smartphones, which have been recalled because of the risk of fire and burns from its lithium-ion battery. That may drive some Samsung customers toward Apple’s products.

Current Apple customers are also planning to upgrade, Garcha found in a survey. About six out of 10 current iPhone owners plan to trade in their devices for a new phone within a year, he noted. At that pace, all iPhone users may replace their devices within about 29 months, instead of the 32 months he had earlier expected, Garcha noted. 

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