Apple's Day of Reckoning is Sept. 12

 Wayne Duggan

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) announced that Sept. 12 will be the launch date for its highly anticipated 10-year anniversary iPhone model. For Apple investors, the iPhone 8 will likely be the most important product Apple has rolled out in years.

Expectations for the iPhone 8 from both Apple users and investors are sky high. The iPhone 8 is rumored to include several revolutionary features, including 3-D facial recognition technology, augmented reality features and wireless charging capabilities.

Apple's stock is up more than 40 percent so far in 2017 ahead of the big event, suggesting Apple investors see big money in the iPhone 8. However, some Wall Street analysts are more bullish on the iPhone than others.

KeyBanc analyst Andy Hargreaves says Apple's strong fiscal third quarter could actually be a red flag. Apple sold roughly 600,000 more iPhones in the third quarter of 2017 than it did a year ago, handily topping analyst forecasts.

"Apple anticipated a pause in demand ahead of this new phone, and it doesn't seem like we're getting it, which says people still want to buy iPhones, which is great," Hargreaves said on CBNC. "But it also says they don't care enough about the new one to wait a few months."

In June, a Loup Ventures survey found that 25 percent of current iPhone users intend to upgrade to the iPhone 8, up from only 15 percent of iPhone users planning to upgrade to the iPhone 7 a year ago. Loup Ventures is calling for iPhone 8 cycle unit growth of 8 percent and revenue growth of 11 percent. Despite indications of strong demand, Loup analyst Gene Munster cautions investors from being too optimistic about the impact the iPhone 8 will have on Apple stock.

"The increase in iPhone growth from the coming iPhone cycle is already factored into shares of AAPL," he wrote in June.

Bank of America analyst Wamsi Mohan says investors are still under appreciating the impact higher iPhone pricing will have on Apple's bottom line.

"A two-year runway for [average sales prices] is underappreciated, in our view," Mohan wrote in August.

If history is any indication, Apple investors shouldn't expect the Sept. 12 launch event to serve as an immediate bullish catalyst for the stock. In the week following the last nine major iPhone launch events dating back to 2008, Apple stock has averaged a 0.4 percent decline.

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