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Four reasons Morgan Stanley raised its Apple estimates

Apple Starts iPhone 6 Sales In GermanyApple Starts iPhone 6 Sales In Germany

Apple analysts have started to dust off their spreadsheets in advance of the company’s fourth fiscal quarter earnings report, scheduled for Tuesday Oct. 27.

I look forward to Katy Huberty’s dispatches in particular because they usually come bearing fresh data from Morgan Stanley’s proprietary AppleWise surveys. Over the weekend she issued a long report, heavy with bar charts, in which she raised her iPhone estimates and 12-month Apple price target.

Her executive summary, in four points:

—More users plan to upgrade their iPhone in FY16 in the next 12 months. 60% in the U.S., up from 47% last December. Even more in China (74%).

—iPhone user loyalty is at an all time high. About 93% in the U.S. (up from 89% last December) and 80% in China (up from 75% a year ago).

—China is still a “robust growth opportunity” despite macro concerns. Importantly, nearly two-thirds of Chinese smartphone users are willing to spend more on their next device.

—The shift to larger screens and more storage will help stabilize prices. This despite stronger demand for older models (e.g. iPhone 6/6 Plus) compared with the last product cycle

Bottom line: Huberty raised her fiscal 2016 iPhone unit sales estimate to 248 million (up from 240 million) and bumped her 12-month Apple price target to $162 (from $155.)

Apple’s shares have a ways to go. They opened Tuesday at $110.84.

Below: A sample chart, this one showing iPhone’s past and estimated future market shares in the U.S. and China.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 1.38.38 PM

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.