iPhone 11 Seeing Stronger Demand, Analysts Bump Sales Estimates

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Apple's latest round of iPhones is showing signs of handily beating last year's crop of phones when it comes to pre-orders and expected demand globally.

Today a slew of Wall Street analysts chipped in with different data points that indicate the iPhone 11 range is off to a great start.

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iPhone 11 showing strong pre-order numbers especially in Asia

China is a key pillar of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) mission of continuing to grow its business. The Chinese market supplies Apple with 20% of its total hardware sales and has been on the defense for a while now from entrants such as Huawei and Xiaomi.

In fact, things looked so bad at the beginning of the year that trading Apple stock was halted after CEO Tim Cook slashed the company's quarterly outlook citing poor performance in China due to the U.S./China trade war. Apple stock tumbled 7% as a result of weak demand in China hurting Apple's sales numbers.

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Apple seemed to focus on this with the latest price cut to its entry-level tier of devices, the iPhone 11. Chinese customers will now be paying a slight premium of 11% ($777) for the base iPhone 11 versus last year that saw shoppers in China forking over for a 28% premium for the iPhone XR.

It seems to be working, too. Well-respected industry analyst and researcher Ming-Chi Kuo, who has established close ties with Apple's iPhone supply chain, said that all indicators are showing very strong demand early on for the new phones.

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Kuo increased his 2019 shipment forecast by 5 million units to a total of between 70 and 75 million devices shipped in 2019. According to Kuo, the standard iPhone 11 is seeing extraordinary demand in all channels in Asia and specifically in China.

Alibaba's Tmall platform saw a 335% increase in day-one preorders versus the XR and XS lineups from last year, and JD.com said over the weekend that the iPhone 11 range saw an almost five-fold increase in pre-orders from a year ago.

Other analysts seemed to confirm Kuo's positive iPhone sales forecast. Wedbush securities analyst Daniel Ives said he performed multiple supply chain "checks" that reported many component suppliers had received increased orders versus initial predictions.

This is certainly good news for Apple as the company has seen sluggish growth from its hardware lineups for the last year or two. Apple no longer wants to rely on iPhone shipments to power its profit and loss statement. Instead, Tim Cook and Company are pivoting towards becoming a services company.

That pivot is already underway as Apple services (things like TV, Music, News) are continuing to attract new users, however, that will take additional years to become a reality and for the time being, it's hardware and respective sales numbers will still dominate headlines for some time.

The upbeat forecast saved shares of Apple from the overall bad day on the stock market, with most stocks dipping into the red. In fact, Apple was the single large market cap ($200B and up) tech company to actually see its share price gain (+0.51%) on the day.

$AAPL is currently trading at $219.90, just 4% shy of its 52-week (and all-time) high. Will Apple shares see a new all-time high with a reinvigorated iPhone family of smartphones? If the Cupertino-based company were to pull that feat off, it must execute well in both hardware and services and show investors that it can still manage continued growth despite its gigantic size.