Amid concerns that the new Apple (AAPL) iPhone 5C and 5S lack innovation, and that the company missed the mark on lower-end consumers, three analysts have downgraded the stock since the big reveal on Apple’s campus in Cupertino, Calif.:
- Bank of America/Merrill Lynch: Downgrade from Buy to Neutral.
- UBS: Downgrade from Buy to Neutral, with a $520 price target.
- Credit Suisse: Downgrade from Outperform to Neutral, with a $525 price target.
The lower-priced iPhone 5C was intended to expand the iPhone’s reach to emerging markets (particularly China), but the $99 price point touted at the release assumed a two-year contract with Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) or Sprint (S). An unlocked iPhone 5C is priced at $549, which isn’t exactly bargain-priced. Both Credit Suisse and UBS believe it is not cheap enough to appeal to emerging-market audiences, and UBS cited a ChinaDaily survey that showed only 2.6% of consumers would consider buying the 5C at that price point.
Pricing out this market, though, could limit Apple’s revenues since most higher-end consumers who want an iPhone likely already have one … and only time will tell if the iPhone 5S fingerprint ID system or the colorful iPhone 5C will be enough to make them upgrade this holiday season.
As of this writing, Carla Lake did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.