Analyst projects disappointing iPhone 6 sales on opening weekend

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Apple is expected to launch a tsunami of new products this fall, starting with next week’s official unveiling of the iPhone 6. With the rumor mill hitting all-time new heights of crazy, you’d think iPhone 6 sales would be off the charts when it hits stores September 19. But Piper Jaffray’s top Apple analyst, Gene Munster, is predicting that won’t be the case.

Munster hasn’t been one to shy away from bold Apple predictions (no matter how many times he’s wrong), but his latest note to investors claims iPhone 6 sales probably won’t be as nearly as huge as the iPhone 5s during launch weekend.

Here are Munster’s estimates:

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“In the near term, we caution that there will likely be noise in the opening weekend iPhone 6 sales numbers given difficult comps from last year’s 5C channel fill.”

Apple’s opening-weekend iPhone sales hit 9 million units in 2013, but that number included the iPhone 5c. Apple may have only sold 5.4 million iPhone 5s units according to Munster, who predicts Apple is at risk of announcing a big drop in opening-weekend iPhone sales this year, which could be a downer for investors.

Munster estimates Apple will sell 6.5 million new iPhone 6 units during launch weekend, which would represent a 28 percent decrease from total iPhone sales last year. The drop in sales numbers would be due to the “channel fill” of more than 3 million iPhone units in 2013 when Apple replaced all iPhone 5 units with the iPhone 5c, boosting total new iPhone sales for the weekend.

Interestingly, Munster has raised his target price on AAPL from $105 to $120, expecting the launch of new products and services will boost the stock’s price.

Other analysts have predicted an unprecedented demand for the iPhone 6 as Apple has order at least 68 million units for 2014 — double what it ordered in 2013. The iPhone 6 is expected to be revealed at a September 9 event and to include a larger display, sapphire glass, faster A8 processor, improved camera and a new mobile payments system supported by NFC.

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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