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Apple stock gets fresh upgrades pointing to 14% upside as it becomes a leader in the AI race

Matthew Fox   

Apple stock gets fresh upgrades pointing to 14% upside as it becomes a leader in the AI race
  • Apple received two price target increases on Friday from CFRA and Bernstein.
  • The research firms both raised their Apple price target to $240, representing potential upside of 14%.

Apple stock could surge another 14% as it becomes the leader in artificial intelligence, according to two Wall Street research reports.

Both CFRA and Bernstein increased their Apple price target to $240 per share on Friday. That's after Apple stock experienced a 27% rally since its late-April low of about $165 per share.

According to CFRA analyst Angelo Zino, who previously had a $210 price target, Apple is poised to turn the iPhone into "the ultimate personal assistant."

The company showed off its "Apple Intelligence" product offering at WWDC last week, which turbocharges Siri into a smart digital assistant that is more conversational than today's version.

Zino said Wall Street analysts are underestimating Apple's iPhone 16 unit sales, of which he expects unit growth of 3% to 5%, and added that the company has leverage to raise iPhone prices.

"We expect Apple Intelligence (AI) to help support incremental consumer upgrades, driven by loyalists and an aging installed base, with AI being more evolutionary than cyclical that will aid multiple years of growth," Zino said.

Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi also sees considerable upside ahead for Apple Stock.

Sacconaghi argued that Apple's WWDC keynote presentation turned the company into an AI leader, with its ability to bring AI to the masses via its more than one billion installed base of iPhone users.

"Apple can bring AI to the masses, with increasing, everyday utility," Sacconaghi said. "Apple is reportedly not paying ChatGPT, highlighting the power that it holds."

Apple is offering an integration of ChatGPT in its upcoming AI offering, set to be released with the iPhone 16 later this year.

And Apple's massive installed base means it has a big opportunity ahead to monetize AI features, according to the note.

Aside from AI features driving a more robust upgrade cycle for the iPhone, Apple could collect advertising revenues through AI search queries, as well as higher app store revenues if more AI-focused apps are released.

Finally, the company could leverage Apple Intelligence "to serve as a channel intermediary to third party apps, with Apple capturing a commission on commerce or a promotion fee," Sacconaghi explained.

Bernstein bases its $240 price target on fiscal year 2025 earnings per share of $8.00 and a historically high multiple of 30x earnings. Sacconaghi previously had a $195 price target for Apple stock.

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