Goldman Sachs on Apple: Delta variant will make iPhone sales 'challenging'

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·2 min read

The unpredictable Delta variant appears to be wreaking havoc on the financial modeling skills of the team covering Apple (AAPL) at Goldman Sachs. 

"We believe growth in iPhone revenue in calendar fourth quarter will be challenging for Apple but we continue to flag a low level of confidence in our ability to predict demand given the complex interplay of issues like the Delta variant, supply shortages, the end of stimulus and high consumer savings," conceded Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall in a research note on Wednesday. 

Hall remained one of the more bearish Wall Street analysts on Apple, reiterating a $140 price target on the stock. At current price levels, Hall is estimating a 5.4% drop in Apple's stock over the next 12-months. 

The interesting commentary from Goldman comes as others on the Street generally had a positive take the day after Apple's big product reveal event on Tuesday. 

While Apple didn't release anything flashy in terms of hardware, it may have done just enough to whet the appetite of the longer-term bulls. 

As Yahoo Finance tech editor Dan Howley writes, the standout products from Apple's new lineup are the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro. Both versions of the iPhone 13 get improved low-light camera capabilities, with the iPhone 13's ultra-wide angle camera and wide-angle lenses capturing better shots in dim settings. 

Perhaps to the disappointment of some analysts, Apple held the prices for the new iPhones steady. 

Meanwhile, Apple also unveiled the Apple Watch Series 7. The new watch gets a 20% larger display thanks to smaller bezels and a slightly larger body. But, Apple didn't release any whiz-bang new features for the watch or change the look too dramatically as had been rumored. 

Apple shares fell slightly in Wednesday afternoon trading. 

"There were few surprises at Apple product launches as media coverage continues to give details of the products well in advance of the launch. On the iPhone 13 family, we view the update as more incremental than transformative vs. the iPhone 12 family, but continue to believe that there will be a strong upgrade cycle due to demand for a 5G device," Deutsche Bank analyst Sidney Ho said. 

Ho reiterated his Buy rating on Apple's stock.

Added Ho, "Overall, the iPhone launch was generally in line with expectations and we do not see anything that was announced related to the iPhone that should change the investment thesis for the stock."

Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley contributed to this story.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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