Bigger-Screen iPhone 6 Poised to Lift Apple Higher

**Editor’s Note: Click here for our ranking of April’s hottest selling smartphones to see how Apple’s iPhone fared against the competition, or here to help you decide which is America’s top wireless network.**

The lasting success of the iPhone 5s and the growing popularity of early-upgrade programs at the major U.S. carriers might allow Apple to charge more for its upcoming eighth-generation smartphone, likely to be called the iPhone 6.

“Our U.S. surveys indicated tier-1 carrier customers were increasingly opting for early-upgrade programs and showed greater propensity toward more expensive high-tier smartphones when enrolling in these programs,” noted Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley, who increased his target price for Apple stock to $660, less than a month before investors will get a 7-for-1 split on their shares.

That would be a nice jump for the stock, which closed the day Thursday at $588 per share.

“Further, we believe these trends could enable Apple to charge higher prices for larger screen iPhone 6 models,” Walkley added. “We believe Apple should win back meaningful high-end market share during [the second half of the year] based on our belief new iPhones with larger screen sizes could create a strong upgrade cycle among Apple’s loyal base.”

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 took a big chunk out of Apple’s market share in April, although the iPhone maker was still able to hold on to second place for the month despite the fact that the 5s is now eight months old – an eternity in the technology business.

It’s been widely rumored that Apple will release a 4.7-inch iPhone this fall – a display that’s significantly larger than that of the four-inch iPhone 5s – and possibly a second handset that measures in at 5.5 inches.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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