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AAPL Up Against The Grain
The market is rocky in early trading as the unemployment rate dropped sharply last month to 9%, the lowest level in nearly two years. To offset that, the economy generated only 36,000 net new jobs, the fewest in four months. Shares of AAPL up over $2.50 versus a sideways trading tech tape. Upcoming catalysts for the stock include news regarding Steve Jobs’ health and return; the rumoured second quarter launch of the next generation iPad; monthly NPD data (Mac / iPod business); 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 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).Shareholder’s Proposal For Apple To Disclose Succession Plan Gets Backing (Bloomberg)
An Apple shareholder proposal requiring the company to disclose a succession plan for CEO Steve Jobs gained the support of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), a proxy-advising service. Apple opposes the proposal and says it already has a succession plan in place. Clearly, the company doesn’t want anyone to know what that plan is. Jobs has taken time off twice in two years and COO Tim Cook has stepped in, so my money is on Tim. And if the Board does plan to look outside Apple, my guess is they are unlikely to let Cook know by a public announcement. Not to mention let competitors know who the company is going after. The proposal will likely be voted on by investors at the annual meeting on February 23.
Apple Going After TV Market, It’s Just A Matter Of When (Forbes)
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has been insisting that Apple is plotting a move into the TV business. He thinks the company will start selling an all-in-one connected Apple TV as soon as the end of calendar year 2012. Among other factors, Munster points to Apple’s $3.9 billion investment in component supply agreements. He believes Apple is securing displays for future products; including 50″ LCD displays. He is confident that the company “remains serious about the connected living room.”
Get More Bang For Your iAd Buck According To Apple Funded Study (AdAge)
In a study of iAds versus traditional TV ads which was funded by Apple and Campbell’s and conducted by Nielsen finds that iAds are more effective. Shocking. Nielsen claims that people exposed to iAds in the study were twice as likely to remember the ad than people who watched a television ad. In addition, five times as many people reportedly remembered the Campbell’s brand from the iAd. Good news for mobile advertisers.
iPad Driving 20% Online Subscription For Financial Times (Apple Insider)
John Ridding, Financial Times CEO, named the iPad among mobile devices driving 20% of the paper’s new online subscriptions, noting nearly a half million downloads (480,000) of his newspaper’s iPad app. The Financial Times has erected a paywall on its website that seeks to charge viewers a subscription after reading a set threshold of stories, a business model that has run into resistance from viewers used to accessing content for free. However, iPad users are increasingly seeking out sources of quality content, and prepared to pay for apps that deliver this. Just ask the Wall Street Journal.
Murdoch Launches iPad Only Newspaper, The Daily (Business Insider)
Rupert Murdoch has set loose News Corp’s iPad only newspaper, The Daily. It’s an undeniably good looking newspaper, though it’s a bit slow-moving and slow-loading. At $0.99 per week, it’s smartly priced, and could find a decent audience. Especially if The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times charge big bucks for their iPad apps. However, the first flip through left us slightly underwhelmed from a content point of view. None of the stories felt urgent or newsy.
No iPhone For You! Verizon Asks Employees To Wait (Various via iDygest)
Citing high demand for the CDMA iPhone, Verizon has asked its employees to delay their own purchases of the iPhone 4, including employees’ families, for the time being. Verizon COO John Stratton in an email to U.S.-based employees said “demand will be unprecedented.” The Verizon iPhone will be available to the masses next week, and pre-orders have already begun for existing Verizon customers.