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Gene Munster Sees 78 Million iPhone Sales, Stronger Than Previously Expected

Gene Munster Sees 78 Million iPhone Sales, Stronger Than Previously Expected
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Gene Munster, one of Wall Street's most respected and notable analysts who covers Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), left his position at Piper Jaffray to start a venture capital firm that focuses on virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

Munster's new firm, Loup Ventures, released on Tuesday a preview of Apple's December 2016 ending quarterly results, to be reported on January 31. The analyst turned fund manager reaffirmed his prior view that he remains positive on Apple's story and expects the company to advance its lead in artificial intelligence-enabled devices with its next iPhone device, which will likely be named the iPhone X.

For the December 2016 ending quarter, Munster now expects Apple's iPhone shipments to grow by 4 percent year-over-year to 78 million units. Munster explained that the iPhone likely reached a supply demand equilibrium during the second week of December, which was much later than the iPhone 6S, which realized a supply demand equilibrium in October 2015.

He continued that Apple's December quarter ending guidance didn't factor in the iPhone reaching equilibrium and estimates at that time called for Apple to ship 77 million iPhone units.

March Guidance

Munster also offered his outlook for the March 2017-ending quarter. Specifically, he expects Apple to guide its iPhone units to rise 9 to 11 percent year-over-year, or 56 to 57 million units.

Munster's outlook exceeds the Street's expectations, calling for Apple's iPhone unit to rise around 7 percent.

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