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AAPL Down With The Rest
Markets are down today on news of a massive bus explosion in Jerusalem, ongoing airstrikes in Libya and unrest in the Syria and Bahrain, and concerns of possible collapse of the Portuguese government. Oil has escalated to trading above $105 per barrel. Shares of Apple are down over 1% with the rest of tech. Upcoming catalysts for the stock include any update regarding Steve Jobs‘ healthy return; iPad 2 sales updates and international launch this Friday; monthly NPD data to gauge Mac / iPod businesses; iPhone sales updates on new carrier Verizon (and now T-Mobile), the push in China, 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).
The Latest iPhone 5 rumours: Trial Production Has Started (Apple Insider)
rumours continue as to what Apple has in store for the iPhone 5. Here’s the verdict (today at least): improved antenna design, a larger 4-inch display, and integrated near-field communications (NFC) chip for wireless e-wallet transactions. The phone is supposedly under trial production and scheduled for third quarter launch (likely late July). Despite possibly ditching the glass backing in favour of a metal chassis, the iPhone 5 is expected to maintain many of the design sensibilities of its predecessor while evolving the underlying technology.
Warren Buffett Still Doesn’t Understand Technology, Not Even Apple (Bloomberg)
While Apple stock might be Buffett material based on his investing criteria, the man himself is still sceptical. Mr. Buffett maintains his long-term wariness toward technology stocks, including Apple, given the lack of predictability in the business. “Even though Apple may have the most wonderful future in the world, I’m not capable of bringing any drink to that particular party and evaluating that future. I simply look at businesses where I think I have some understanding of what they might look like in five or 10 years.” Somebody buy this man an iPad! Read more at HuffPo.
Investors Still Worried About Japan Supply Constraints (The New York Times)
And last week the shares took a 7% hit because of it. It didn’t help that the iPad 2 appears to be in increasingly short supply. The two factors, however, are unrelated. At least for now. Any problems affecting Apple’s supply chain in Japan will not affect finished products for weeks. But some investors fear that Apple’s challenges in meeting demand for a product like the iPad 2 will simply get worse in the months to come as some critical components are delayed.
WSJ To Start Selling Individual Copies Through App, Meaning Apple Gets 30% (Mashable)
The Wall Street Journal will begin selling individual copies of its morning newspaper through its iPad app. Non-subscribers can continue to get the same limited range of free content through the app, but now users who want to access all of the morning’s content can do so without committing to a subscription. The move as part of the company’s “open house approach,” designed to entice readers with a sampling of its content. Of course, this means Apple will take a 30% share of revenue generated from single issues sold through the app.
Samsung Gets Serious About Pricing, Sets The Galaxy Toe To Toe With iPad (CrunchGear)
Samsung released its two Galaxy Tab devices (8.9 and 10.1), both aimed squarely at Apple’s iPad. Taking a page from RIM, which also unveiled its own PlayBook tablet, Samsung set Galaxy (10.1) prices that mirror the iPad 2: $499 and $599 for 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi versions, respectively. Both tablets are about 0.2mm thinner than the iPad 2. Of course, the new tablets run Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
25 Countries Officially Getting The iPad 2 This Friday (Apple)
Apple confirmed that it will be launching its iPad 2 in more countries on Friday. The 25 markets include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Suggested retail prices are the same as in the US. Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and additional countries will get all models of iPad 2 in April.
New Macs rumoured To Be Coming Late April (Cult Of Mac)
New iMacs with Sandy Bridge CPUs and the lightening fast Thunderbolt port are due at the end of April or the first week of May. With the MacBook Pro line getting spec bumps to Sandy Bridge processors and Thunderbolt, Apple’s iMac should fall in line in about 4-6 weeks. A full quarter of the iPad with Mac and MacBook updates should be an interesting second quarter.