THE APPLE INVESTOR: Can Apple Compete With Google At Mapping And Location Features?

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AAPL Up More Than Tech
Stocks are rising in early trading as consumer spending rose to its highest in four months in February and investors hope to extend the rally amid concerns about Japan’s nuclear crisis and violence in the Middle East and Africa. Shares of AAPL are also rising, up more than the rest of tech. Upcoming catalysts for the stock include any update regarding Steve Jobs‘ healthy return; the WWDC slated for June; monthly NPD data to gauge Mac / iPod businesses; iPad 2 sales updates;  iPhone sales updates, the push in China, as well as the launch of the iPhone 5; 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 14x Enterprise Value / Trailing Twelve Months Free Cash Flow (incl. long-term marketable securities).

Apple May Be Looking To Revamp Mapping To Take On Google (9To5Mac)
Apple has filed a new job opportunity for an iOS Maps application developer. Apple wants the candidates to work on a team that will “radically improve” maps and location services within Apple devices. The company acquired the mapping company, PlaceBase, in 2009 and since then rumours have circled from a redesigned iOS application all the way to Apple creating their own maps database to replace Google’s backend currently used in iOS maps.

Apple Dictating The Market; Killing Research In Motion, Among Others (Seeking Alpha)
Why has Research In Motion failed so miserably in preserving its operating income per device? Apple. The company was obligated to cut the prices of its phones, spend more on advertising and invest heavily on its research and development to complete. RIM has become reactive. When Apple improves its iPhone, RIM has to answer. When Apple creates the tablet category, RIM must respond with its PlayBook. Apple is essentially controlling and dictating the market.

Official Dates Set For WWDC: June 6 – 10 (Apple)
Apple announced the dates for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The event will take place June 6 through June 10 at San Francisco’s Moscone centre. The company promises to “unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS”, demo a bunch of applications and host more than 100 technical sessions. From a consumer perspective, there are three things that WWDC will be worth watching for: OS X Lion, iOS 5 and the iPhone 5.

iOS 5 to Debut In Fall And Not Summer This Year? (TechCrunch)
TechCrunch reports that Apple may hold off on unveiling the next iteration of iOS, version 5, until this fall. A fall release would break the pattern of previous iOS releases, which have typically been unveiled in early spring and released alongside a new iPhone in the summer. Many were disappointed that Apple didn’t devote any time during the iPad 2 unveiling to talking about iOS 5, the next major revamp of the software. Read more at Business Insider.

Legal Round Up: Apple Rising In Nokia Patent Win, But Kodak Might Get Last Laugh (Various)
The patent wars continue:

  • Apple shares are rising in early Monday trading after a judge ruled late Friday that the company did not violate any of Nokia’s five patents. Nokia had asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban the import of Apple devices that infringe on Nokia patents in a complaint filed in 2009.
  • Kodak won the latest round in its patent dispute with Apple and Research In Motion. Late Friday, a judge said that it will review the case that states the iPhone and BlackBerry don’t violate Kodak’s patent on a way to preview digital images using less processing power and storage space.  A victory may allow Kodak to extract $1 billion from Apple and RIM.

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