THE APPLE INVESTOR: HP Exits, Dell Struggles While Apple’s Mac Business Soars

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AAPL Off In A Volatile Market 
The markets are swinging this morning after yesterday’s sharp selloff as fears mount that the U.S. economy will drop back into recession. Shares of AAPL are trading in the negative, currently near the flatline. Catalysts include the next iPhone launch this fall; the iPad 3 in the spring of 2012 (or earlier); continued adoption in China and other emerging markets (see below); iCloud / iOS 5 rollout and adoption; the continued evolution and next generation of Apple TV; and new platforms such as books / publishing and social (Ping). Shares of Apple trade at 9.1x Enterprise Value / Trailing Twelve Months Free Cash Flow(including long-term marketable securities).One Competitor Bites The Dust, HP Says So Long To PC Business (Bloomberg)
HP is set to spin off its PC business in order to focus on cloud-based software and services. The company plans to break out operations for its webOS devices, effectively removing iPhone and iPad competitors such as the Palm Pre line of phones and TouchPad tablet computer from the market. The TouchPad has been on the market for less than two months. HP will concentrate more fully on enterprise sales and deployment. Needless to say, the market wasn’t so happy with HP’s announcement.

Steve Jobs Negotiated China Mobile Deal (CapitalVue)
There are reports that Apple and China Mobile, the world’s biggest carrier, have struck a deal to bring the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 onto their network. Executives even met with Steve Jobs to discuss the deal. The carrier already has nearly 7.5 million iPhone users on its network, despite not selling the phones through its channels and even though iPhone devices running on China Mobile don’t have access to 3G.

Mac Shipments Trounce PC Shipments, Particularly Strong In China (SlashGear)
Needham analyst Charlie Wolf noted that June marked the 21st consecutive quarter that Mac shipment growth exceeded that of the PC market. Mac shipments grew 14.6% for the month. That’s more than 5x the PC market. Driving that growth are the home and business markets and Asia. Mac shipments in a global home market that declined 0.3% overall. In the business market, they grew 31.5%, more than 6x the 5% growth rate charted by the rest of the market. And in Asia, they blew the roof off with shipments growing 67.6% thanks to China.

Mac Shipment Growth Slowing Says Analyst (AppleInsider)
Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research believes that the past weekend “was probably one of the slowest weekends for Mac sales” in the current calendar year, citing proprietary research based on “various tracking data.” That likely means some poor analyst at the door taking notes. He estimates that Mac sales were down between 35% – 40% from the prior weekend. Dude, it’s August. People are on vacation. Just wait for back-to-school.

Too Bad For Samsung, Consumers Only Want The iPad (The New York Times)
According to a survey conducted by Robert W. Baird, a Milwaukee-based wealth management and analyst company, consumers who already own or plan to buy a new tablet are only interested in one thing: the iPad. Of 1,114 people, more than 50% of said they already owned a tablet or were interested in buying one soon, with 95% of these respondents choosing the iPad.

Apple Going After InterDigital For More Patents (Reuters)
In the wake of Google’s $12.5 billion bid for Motorola, rivals that have already been shoring up patent ammunition are now further hoarding patents as the IP battleground gets more and more cutthroat. Apple and Nokia (Microsoft), along with Qualcomm are still weighing bids for wireless telecom specialist InterDigital Inc. in order to scoop up its trove of patents for wireless tech. The forthcoming auction of the company will be postponed from next week until sometime after labour Day.

More Enterprise Usage Of The iPad (AppleInsider)
Delta Airlines has started testing iPads as electronic flight bags domestically, in order to evaluate the viability of replacing printed on-board manuals and other information with digital versions and custom iOS applications. They are used for in-flight access to equipment manuals, flight charts, and Wi-Fi.

Apple Investing In Sharp And Toshiba? (MacRumors)
Apple has plans to invest in a Sharp Corp factory in order to secure a supply of LCD screens for iPhones and iPads, according to a new report. This echos reports late last year along the same lines but with Toshiba as well. The move has spurred speculation that Apple may move to diversify its range of suppliers in light of its ongoing legal dispute with Samsung. Apple already appears to be shifting away from Samsung for production of its custom processors for its iOS devices, with TSMC reportedly beginning A6 trial production.

Apple Loses iAd Executive To Funders (Various via iDygest)
The head of Apple’s iAd interactive advertising business is set to leave the company. Andy Miller first came to Apple after his company, Quattro Wireless, was acquired by Apple last year. Apple shut down (renamed) the Quattro Wireless advertising network to support its iAd advertising network. Andy is said to be leaving to become a general partner at venture capital firm Highland Capital, which funded Quattro.

Daily Trader: Apple Is Also Doing A Number On Dell (GigaOM)
Dell’s stock took a dive earlier this week after it lowered its revenue estimates for the year, citing weak demand. While its server business remained strong, there’s no doubt that Michael Dell is navigating a fine line and sounds like a man scorned. Dell faces huge encroachments from the iPhone and iPad, which are eating away at Dell’s consumer PC and notebook business.