Apple Watch Could Sell a Million Units in First Weekend, Analyst Says
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Piper Jaffray expects Apple to sell 1 million Apple Watches in the product's first weekend on the market as the company's fanboys pile in to the new segment.
The firm arrived at the forecast after surveying 10,000 people over the course of a year, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said on Wednesday. It estimates that roughly 5 percent to 7 percent of iPhone users—and a slightly larger percentage of iPhone 6 owners—will adopt the Apple's first wearable.
"I think the clear takeaway is this: The first quarter is going to be a decent quarter because of the fanboys. It'll probably die down a little bit, and then this really goes vertical a year plus from now," Munster told CNBC's "Squawk Alley."
The launch will be Apple's most mysterious since the iPhone debuted because the company has said it will not disclose unit sales when it reports earnings, he said.
As such, investors will have to read between the lines and back into the numbers. A slight lift in gross margin could offer clues because the Apple Watch is a high-margin product, Munster said.
He also suggested investors look to some of the bigger developers to hear how they're building apps for the watch.
"What we've heard from those developers so far is that Apple is limiting the functionality that they're allowing them to tap into the watch. Part of it's for power reasons. Part of it's for stability reasons," he said.
He continued to say, "When we start to hear about better, more compelling apps being built, that's going to be the trigger that's going to get the average consumer to get more excited about this, because right now they're really struggling with the real value of the watch."
With expectations relatively neutral heading into the launch, the stock is set up to perform well once the Apple Watch hits the shelves, Munster said.
Neither the analyst nor his family owns shares of Apple. Piper Jaffray does not hold greater than a 1 percent share of the stock, nor does it provide investment banking services to Apple.