Thursday, April 15

iPhone subscription model would be game changing for Apple: Top analyst

One of Apple’s biggest dilemmas is that iPhone sales, the company’s bread and butter, are shrinking as the replacement cycle becomes lengthier.

But Toni Sacconaghi, a top Apple analyst on Wall Street, told CNBC on Wednesday that his firm would upgrade the stock if the company could create a subscription plan for its consumer products like the iPhone.

“If Apple was able to turn the iPhone business into a subscription business … [and] somehow convert more consumers to buying something that’s transactional today into a subscription model, we think that would make a world of difference and that would be something we’d view very positively,” the Bernstein senior technology research analyst said on “Fast Money Halftime Report”

The iPhone replacement cycle is one of Apple’s “core issues,” Sacconaghi said. As the smartphone market reaches a mature point, iPhone sales have begun to drop as customers are more likely to hang on longer to their devices before deciding to upgrade to new models. Sales of the device were down 15 percent year over year in the company’s fiscal first quarter.

Apple is working to convince traders to worry less about iPhone sales and more about the services it offers. Yet, the iPhone still makes up more than 60 percent of revenue compared with the growing services businesses that accounts for about 13 percent of revenue.

“It’s not big enough,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long said of Apple’s services business earlier on “Squawk Alley.” “Unfortunately, people want this to be more than an iPhone story, but I think ultimately it still is.”

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