Apple stock could rise because of these 3 announcements from its biggest event of the year

Apple’s developer conference is often a gut-check for bullish investors, and the company seems to have passed the test this time.

A note from Macquarie Research described Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference as “solid, if unsurprising.” The firm maintains its buy rating, saying Apple could jump about 4% to $US160 from its current price of $US153.93. Immediately following the conference, shares of the tech company were down about 1%.

The note pointed to three of the biggest announcements at the conference that might lead to future gains for the company: augmented reality, a redesigned app store, and the new HomePod smart speaker.

Augmented reality has a lot of hype surrounding it. Apple offered its own technology for developers to build on, and Macquarie said the new ARKit platform “has seemingly instantaneously become the standard for AR.” Time will tell if this enthusiasm is warranted, but ARKit will be one of the largest AR platforms on launch, even as Apple plays catch up to companies like Google and Snapchat.

Apple’s app store has been around for nine years. At WWDC, the company announced its biggest updates to the platform since its launch, according to Macquarie. The new design has the potential to drive higher sales and improve app discovery because it differentiates between apps and games, making sure the two aren’t interfering with each other in search and discovery pages. Macquarie said this will lead to better revenue from apps and games, even as consumers download fewer apps.

The last thing announced Monday was the HomePod, a smart-speaker competitor to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The new speaker was marketed with an emphasis on how the device sounds, and is aimed at the enthusiast audiophile who wants good audio quality and ease of use, rather than a hub for kitchen timers and news updates. Macquarie thinks as long as the audio quality holds up, consumers will snap up the new speaker.

Apple shares are up slightly in early trading Tuesday and opened at $US153.89.

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