Apple (AAPL): Checks Indicate iPad Mini Has Gone into Production; Raise Target to $900 – Jefferies

Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek is out with some very positive comments on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) this morning raising his price target to $900 (prev. $800) while reiterating his Conviction Buy List status for the name.

– Checks Indicate iPad Mini Has Gone into Production; So has iTV.

Based on July Taiwan sales data and their checks, Jefferies believes iPad builds for CQ3 have been raised from 18M to 25M and CQ4 from 22-25M to >30M. They continue to think Apple will have ~15M iPhone 5 handsets by mid-Sep and the iTV will launch in CQ4 or CQ1. They remain significantly above St EPS for FY13 ($63 vs. St $52) and think the iPhone 5 will be the biggest handset launch in history. Firm raises their target to $900 and reiterates their Buy rating.

iPad Mini in production. Hon Hai’s July revenues were +5% M/M vs. typical seasonality of flat. They believe Hon Hai is the main manufacturer of the iPad Mini. The new build plans of 25M and >30M for CQ3 and CQ4 compare to they current estimates of 16M and 18M, which do not include an iPad Mini.

9/12 event likely an announcement of the iPhone 5, possibly of the iPad Mini, and less likely of the iTV. For the iPhone 5, Jefferies remains confident that by mid-September Apple will have ~15M in finished goods inventory. They believe 3GS, 4 and 4S builds continue into Q4. Pricing for all of those models has been slashed already. Total iPhone builds for H2:CY12 are well in excess of 80M vs. our estimate of 81M. The firm does not know if Apple will have a separate announcement event in Oct for the iPad Mini, and while they also think an iTV will be ready for a CQ4 launch, they do not know how many major product announcements Apple would want to cram into Sep/Oct/Nov and see a CQ1 launch as possible.

Believe the iTV is in full production. Recent data out of Sharp, Hon Hai, and other specialty chemical and TV component suppliers support this. Also, JDSU noted that they have a new non-gaming customer for its gesture control modules. They indicated this is a new “living room” based customer. Jefferies believes Apple will leverage AT&T’s and Verizon’s content deals for the iTV. Additionally, the WSJ’s sources indicate Apple may also consider a set-top box version for the cable operators.

Leave estimates unchanged. Firm currently models 2M iTVs in CQ4 at a $1,250 ASP, which equates to $2.5B in revenues. They think Apple would sell at least 8M iPad Minis at a $300 ASP with a similar GM to the iTV, leading to at least a similar revenue and earnings boost. An iPad Mini launch makes a CQ1 iTV launch more likely, but it could still be in CQ4.

Jefferies derives their price target from a 12x multiple ex-cash (14x including) on their FY13 EPS vs. CY13 S&P 500 St P/E of ~12x (premium due to higher growth).

Notablecalls: New highs coming for AAPL today as Jeffco’s Misek joins Piper’s Munster at $900 price target level. Can’t stop this chart. Headed to $640-645/sh today?

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