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AAPL Up As Market Rises
Stocks are heading higher in early trading after stabilizing oil prices and big corporate deal announcements. Shares of AAPL are up a solid ~$5, or 1.5%. Upcoming catalysts for the stock include news regarding Steve Jobs‘ healthy return; the launch of the next generation iPad on Wednesday; monthly NPD data to gauge Mac / iPod businesses; iPhone sales updates on new carrier Verizon as well as the launch of the iPhone 5 anticipated this summer; new revenue streams such as video, books / publishing and social (Ping); moving iTunes into the cloud; and the continued evolution and adoption of Apple TV. Shares of Apple trade at 13x Enterprise Value / Trailing Twelve Months Free Cash Flow (incl. long-term marketable securities).
Next-Gen iPad rumoured To Be Available Almost Immediately After Announcement (AppleInsider)
Apple is rumoured to surprise everyone next week with nearly instantaneous availability of the next-generation iPad. Usually the launch is followed by a delay, a pre-order and then in-store availability. The company is preparing several of its operating segments to perform functions during the second half of next week that are representative of nothing short of a large scale, consumer-oriented product roll-out — not just an announcement. Does Apple need those orders to make the March quarter? Or is this fast roll-out just a manufacturing efficiency?
Apple Nearly Destroyed By Sun in 1995 (eWeek)
Former Sun CEO Ed Zander recalls the day when he was hours away from buying Apple for about $5 to $6 a share. Sun was geared up to announce its acquisition at an upcoming analysts meeting, but an Apple investment banker got in the company’s way at the last minute by including so many unfavorable deal terms that it was basically blocked. Would there have been the iPod and subsequent devices? Probably not says another former Sun CEO, Scott McNealy, “I’d have screwed that up.”
Apple Devices Coming To Verizon’s High Speed Network (The Wall Street Journal)
Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead rebutted recent reports suggesting Verizon iPhone sales were low by confirming the wireless carrier sold more iPhone 4s during its initial launch than any other product in the carrier’s history. He also hinted that Apple was interested in LTE technology and working on devices compatible with Verizon’s 4G network. Probably a good reason to wait to buy.
Antennagate Round Two: The CDMA Verizon iPhone Has The Same Issue (Various via iDygest)
Here we go again. In testing the new Verizon CDMA iPhone 4, Consumer Reports says that Apple’s new smartphone experiences the same signal degrading antenna issue found in the GSM model released last year. There are ways the phone can be held will cause it to drop calls in weak signal conditions. Couldn’t that be true of all phones?
Mobile Social Coming To Apple With Places Trademark Registration (Boy Genius Report)
Apple filed for a trademark on the word Places in both the European Union and China. Given Google and Facebook’s use of the word (and flops at that), the trademark is speculated to be Apple’s foray into online social networking services and will assist in locating people using GPS on Apple’s mobile devices. The company has not said much about any mobile social networking strategy, but one clue might be in the trademark applications it is filing in different parts of the world.
Investors Should Be Fine With Apple Keeping Secrets (Seeking Alpha)
Apple has a plan and it’s best kept a secret. If shareholders want to give the company a chance of hitting its most aggressive price targets, they should keep quiet as well. It’s unfair to place all of the blame on some random pension fund and a mavericky group of shareholders; the media is the one fueling the fire. The New York Times believes that while secrecy helps the earnings, it doesn’t serve corporate governance.
Apple Will Continue to Be the Leader Everyone Follows (Seeking Alpha)
When you think of a tablet, what do you think of? Exactly. Very few companies succeed by copying the leader, because the leader usually has already conquered the emotional commitment of the consumer and copying the leader usually means appealing to the rational side of the purchase decision, which is weak. Not only do they have to create a better mouse trap but a whole new disruptive technology. For as long as Apple continues setting the standards, its leadership in volume, growth and profitability will go uncontested.