>> The iPhone 7 may have underwhelmed a lot of consumers and tech bloggers, but you wouldn't know if from watching Apple's stock. Despite gripes about the missing headphone jack, shares of Apple have rallied about 15% since mid November to its highest level in over a year. And much of the excitement isn't about what was, but what's to come, says Reuters markets reporter Noel Randewich.
>> Investors are betting that in this tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple's got something in store, something that Apple hopes and expects will rejuvenate interest in smartphones at a time when the market's becoming saturated and a lot of people are willing to hold onto their phones for longer than they used to.
>> Many are expecting a radical, redesign. Apple watchers speculate wireless charging and a sleek glass body with no trace of the camera or home button on the front, and possible biometric additions like iris or facial recognition. No surprise then that some big investors are craving the stock. According to Morningstar, 288 mutual funds reporting they bought Apple, according to their latest quarterly filings compared to about half as many which sold shares.
Apple's stock is very closely tied to the sales of its flagship product. On Tuesday, Apple reports earnings for the quarter which will reflect recent holiday sales.>> One analyst cut her estimate for iPhone sales for the December quarter which will be reported on Tuesday and also for the March quarter that we're in right now.
But she attributed that reduction to the idea that a lot of people are holding off on buying new phones right now because they are excited about buying the next iPhone, the blockbuster iPhone that people believe is in the works right now. She's also increased her overall estimates for the next year.
>> And Apple really needs a home run with its next phone, with iPhone sales dropping for each of the last three quarters. Bucking that trend Tuesday could help keep the stock humming away.