The verdict is in: Apple’s biggest event in years was totally predictable.
On Wednesday, the Cupertino company held a blockbuster launch event. As well as its annual iPhone refresh (the latest device is the iPhone 6s), it also took the wraps off the long-rumoured super-size iPad Pro, and revealed a significantly overhauled Apple TV streaming top box.
Apple is also introducing new colours and apps for the Apple Watch, launching the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 9, and even found time to briefly show a new iPad Mini.
However, there were no real surprises: Nearly everything announced had been at least rumoured, if not leaked ahead of time.
Here’s what Wall Street thought about it all.
Price target: $US172
Comment: 'Today's Apple announcements on the iPhone 6S, new Apple TV and iPad Pro were largely as expected. That said, we believe there is substance in the new products, most notably that the iPhone 6S should have enough appeal, along with the lower price for existing iPhone 6 and Plus, to allow Apple to continue to gain share at the high end of the phone market. We are expecting 4% y/y iPhone unit growth vs. the Street at flat in 2016. Updates to Apple TV should add a little less than 1% to Street estimates in 2016 (not in our model). Finally, the new iPad Pro is incremental but does not change our belief that iPad units will be down 4% in 2016. We maintain our Overweight rating and $US172 price target.'
Price target: $US150
Comment: 'As Expected iPhone & iPad Intros; Apple TV = Most Interesting ... Although we believe Apple's iPhone 6s / 6s Plus feature / functionality updates again highlight Apple's ability to leverage the competitive advantages of vertical integration, we would expect most to consider the company's new product launch to be an as-expected event.'
Price target: $US145
Comment: 'No change to our estimates. We reiterate our Buy rating on Apple shares and we note the stock trades at ~11x (including net cash of $US25, or ~9x excluding cash). We believe tough comps and limited potential sales/EPS upside in the near term may cause some investors to exit the stock thereby providing an attractive entry for long term investors. We expect Apple to outperform its competition on its contribution to industry profits.'
Price target: $US145
Comment: 'From a fundamental perspective, we note that the new offerings are welcomed additions to the portfolio that will strengthen not only the competitiveness of each product category, but also the wider ecosystem and the increasing developer effort behind this platform. In turn, we believe this drives resilience in its hardware sales through industry leading retention rates. With EPS momentum, strong new product upgrades, and a powerful, sustained, upgrade cycle, we maintain our Outperform rating and PT (Price Target) of $US145.'
Price target: $US133
Comment: 'Overall, more disappointments than positive surprises, but nothing game changing. We are lowering our FY'16 revenue & EPS estimates by 3%. In the NT, the stock will have trouble getting past the tough iPhone comp issue. However, longer-term, we continue to believe that the app ecosystem, smartphone dominance, & innovative new devices in the pipeline should be compelling (based on AAPL's track record).'
Price target: N/A
Comment: 'We think the Street will be laser focused on if these iterative improvements in the 6s can spur a surge of upgrades (e.g., Force Touch, A9 system-on-chip, 12-megapixel camera, 7000 series aluminium chassis) across the Apple customer base. With less than 30% of customers upgrading to iPhone 6 to date, coupled by this innovative 6s model, we believe the stage is set for Apple to catalyze growth on the heels of this super-cycle product upgrade for the coming quarters and thus help reverse the negative investor tide (e.g. China) hovering over this 'prove me' name. We also believe the iPad Pro is a potential door opener for Apple on the enterprise front that could revitalize growth on this all- important tablet market opportunity as Cook & Co. now focus on cracking the enterprise nut with this new and improved larger iPad. We maintain our Outperform.'
Price target: $US130
Comment: 'Unlike last year, China is amongst the first 12 countries where the phones ship, which should help Y/Y compares. It remains to be seen whether the phone can replicate the success of the prior version, and, in our opinion, the larger iPad Pro could be somewhat cannibalistic to Macs. Maintain Neutral.'
Price target: $US126 (down from $US130)
Comment: 'Apple's Sep 9 event was largely in line with our and investor expectations. We liked Apple's progress in Watch, iPad, and TV, but were underwhelmed by iPhone 6s. We believe Apple is in early stages of a transition, from iPhone, to Watch, Car, and other new product/service categories. As inflated investor iPhone expectations get lowered, the stock would become incrementally more attractive to us. Maintain Hold.'
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