Analyst says iPhone X for ‘relative rich’ who value phone appearance


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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during a media event at Apple’s new headquarters where Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone and other products in Cupertino, California on September 12, 2017.

One Wall Street analyst went against his bullish peers and was less than impressed with Apple’s latest iPhone unveil.

Apple’s iPhone X $999 price tag represents a “substantial increase that seems justifiable only for relatively rich people who care deeply about the appearance of their phone,” wrote KeyBanc analyst Andy Hargreaves in a note Tuesday.

Hargreaves noted that the smart phone is the most expensive mobile from Apple to date, about $300 more than the price of a new iPhone 8.

Hargreaves differs sharply with his analyst peers, who largely gushed over the more swanky model. Drexel Hamilton’s Brian White wrote that “Apple took the iPhone franchise to a whole new level with the iPhone X,” praising the company for its venture into the “ultra-luxury” smartphone market.

But the KeyBanc analyst has an even bigger reason for being cautious Apple shares than whether or not targeting wealthier customers is a good idea.

“The lack of compelling features in the iPhone X also raises longer-term concerns about Apple’s pricing power,” he wrote. “The iPhone X suggests compelling new features may be difficult to come by going forward, which could imply a period of elongating average holding periods and falling ASPs after a peak in FY18.”

But to be sure, Apple retains fierce brand loyalty as well as a strong hold on consumers through “network effects, content lock-up, and learned experience with iOS,” Hargreaves acknowledged, an environment costumers would be hard-pressed to leave.

Apple shares were up nearly 40 percent this year into the release. However, the stock finished Tuesday 0.4 percent lower following the announcement and fell another 1 percent in early trading Tuesday as investors appeared to side more with Hargreaves than the majority of his peers.

The analyst has a sector weight rating on Apple.

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