Apple could double iPhone sales in 2010 as it drops exclusivity deals in key territories and works to extend its digital media principalities across its product range, analysts said this morning. Meanwhile the extreme secrecy of the company’s dealings with Orange and Vodafone to diversify iPhone distribution in the UK has come to light.
Analysts at UBS and Morgan Stanley this morning raised price targets on the company’s stock.
UBS upped its target to $265 from $170, saying iPhone prospects look bright. The analyst firm also said, “Apple may be working on building out a foundation for a service ot provide seamless access and mobility of digital content across its products,” according to Marketwatch.
Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty surprised us all this morning with a bullish AAPL report, saying the expiration of exclusive deals and a move to broaden iPhone distribution will drive major growth for Apple.
“This total opportunity is substantial,” she wrote, as reported by CNN Money, “it adds up to an incremental 20.3M iPhone units and $3.76 in adjusted EPS, 100% and 41% of iPhone units and adjusted EPS respectively."
She notes the French connection, where iPhone sales rocketed 136 per cent when local regulators demanded an end to Apple’s originally exclusive deal with Orange. She expects similar experiences in other territories as the company broadens distribution, though she warns the US may lag on this, with Verizon not expected to carry the device before 2011, (in her opinion). She expects Apple to sell 41.7 million iPhones in calendar year 2010.
With the device so much in vogue, it is no surprise that in the UK O2 and Vodafone were prepared to engage in extreme secrecy in their negotiations with the company. And the extent of their effort to maintain that secrecy is extremely interesting.
Orange chief exec, Tom Alexander, said that the deal to carry the iPhone on the Orange network was signed over a year ago, but the company was not allowed to tell anyone under terms of the deal.
We’ve really been dying to tell people, but we just couldn’t do it. It’s been really frustrating.” Mr Alexander told the Daily Telegraph. “There’s been a lot of secrecy surrounding it.”
Vodafone was also in the frame – and that carrier was so keen to ink an iPhone distro deal that it hired a team of temporary staff to conduct the negotiations, staff who were not connected to its own people, and who were under the kind of secrecy clauses you’d expect from a top-ranking military spy – they couldn’t even tell their spouses what they were doing in their day.
Gartner analyst, Carolina Milanesi, told the Telegraph: “Apple calls all the shots. Apple is an iconic brand and the iPhone is an iconic device which has transformed the mobile phone market. Apple can do what it likes and the mobile phone operators just have to lump it.”