Apple shares rise after iPhone 5 launch
Will the smartphone's reality match its enormous hype?
The phone -- which one economist predicted could bolster the nation's GDP -- is lighter and more powerful than previous models. Some analysts, such as noted Apple bull Gene Munster of PiperJaffray, are forecasting that Apple will sell 10 million iPhones by the end of the month. That would make it the best-selling consumer electronics device of all time, according to published reports. Whether it will live up to its hype is not yet clear.
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Not everyone was impressed by the new phone. The Wall Street Journal noted that it lacks "several features that are becoming standard across other smartphones. Those features, such as ways to pay with your phone or even bigger screens, are generating strong reviews from consumers and technology critics." The new model does, however, have improved data speeds and battery life.
Whether the iPhone 5 is "good enough" for most consumers remains to be seen. The device may prove a tougher sell to corporate America if chief information officers are not convinced that the device's advances are sufficient enough to justify purchasing them. Apple, or its telecom partners AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ) and Sprint (S), may be forced to offer corporate America steep discounts to win over skeptical business customers.
When it comes to Apple, investors may have short memories. In July, the Cupertino, Calif., company reported earnings that lagged Wall Street expectations because consumers held off purchasing iPhones in expectation of the newer model. If the buzz on the iPhone 5 is lukewarm, some may hold onto their old devices to see if the next version will blow their socks off.
Shares of Apple have surged more that 67% this year. Wall Street analysts have an average 52-week price target of $736.17 on the stock, about 10% above where it currently trades. The shares are not priced for perfection, they are priced for immortality.
If you believe that Apple will continue to be as awesome in the future as it has in the past, then buy shares today. Those who harbor any skepticism might want to wait for a pullback and buy the stock when others have thrown in the towel. History has shown that those who underestimate Apple do so at their own peril.
Jonathan Berr is on the fence about whether to upgrade to the iPhone 5. He does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter@jdberr.
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