Sources in Apple's supply chain are particularly bullish about iPhone sales to start 2015, leading investment firm Barclays Capital to say that its forecast of 54 million units for the current quarter is a "conservative" estimate.
British banking giant Barclays this week raised its price target for Apple shares to $140 from $120, saying that increased customer demand for larger-screened iPhones and iPads, the introduction of the Apple Watch, and the unveiling of new services like Apple Pay could significantly expand the company's margins.
Though Barclays has been bearish on Apple stock since February, the investment firm changed its tune on Monday with a newly reestablished "overweight" rating alongside a new price target of $110 per share.
Recent gains made by Apple stock had placed the price target at Barclays underwater, but the investment firm responded on Wednesday with a newly increased target of $655 that it said shows "respect" for Apple's momentum headed into the second half of 2014.
Shares of Apple stock slid Thursday morning after investment firm Barclays Capital lowered its rating on shares of the iPhone maker, saying it doesn't expect the stock to break out of its current trading range within the next year, and suggesting its performance could become comparable to that of rival Microsoft.
A number of analysts reduced their price targets for Apple on Wednesday, though one who just met with the company's executives said those officials are "very optimistic" about the product pipeline and market position.
Apple is expected to report more than 22 percent growth in Mac shipments when it announces its quarterly earnings next week, driven by growth overseas, which will compensate for dampened sales in the U.S. in June.
British investment bank Barclays Capital on Tuesday raised its price target on shares of Apple by more than 10% to $385 per share, citing strength in all four of the company's core product segments and expectations it will build a network of 150 million FaceTime-enabled devices over the next two years.
Analysts for Barclay's Capital are reporting Monday that their contacts in the Far East tell them that Apple has doubled its iPhone production for the current quarter, suggesting the company has baked high expectations into the launch of new models that will reportedly arrive in June.
Sales of Apple's most affordable iPod shot up more than 50 percent a week after the company unveiled new, more compact models that shift the push controls from the player itself to the included pair of earphones.
Resellers both near and afar are reporting signs that Apple's current line of iPod digital music players are on their way out the door, just as one prominent Wall Street analyst restates his claim that a $199 iPod touch is likely to be among the new models that will fill the void.
While checks within Apple's supply chain suggest the company is researching a low-end iPhone design, rumors that such a device will surface this year are overly optimistic, according to Lehman Brothers.