Apple, not known for big acquisitions, is looking at buying a 55% stake in Japanese chip maker Renesas for $482 million. The company happens to be the world's largest producer - and top expert - in one area of technology of crucial importance to Apple.
Apple Stock (Nasdaq: AAPL)
Apple TV will indeed make a splash this year, but all this business with Comcast is a red herring. In fact, there are two big changes Apple can make to its $99 set-top box that will go a long way toward turning it from a "hobby" to a
Apple has quietly been putting together a strategy that will allow it to gain the upper hand in a wearable tech market expected to explode over the next few years. That strategy revolves around the one thing that will
The long-anticipated next-generation iPhone is expected to debut at an Apple Media Event Sept. 12 and go on sale Sept. 21.
Rumored improvements such as a bigger 4-inch screen and 4G LTE network compatibility have heightened consumer anticipation, even slowing sales of the current iPhone 4S.
A recent survey of more than 4,000 American consumers by ChangeWave Research indicated that many can't wait to give their money to Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL).
"Advance demand for the iPhone 5 is strikingly higher than we've seen for any previous iPhone model," Paul Carton, ChangeWave's vice president of research, told Computerworld.
In addition, extraordinarily positive guidance from several iPhone component suppliers hints that Apple has ramped up production like never before. Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS) forecast a 70% sales increase for the current quarter. Omnivision (Nasdaq: OVTI) said it expected revenue to jump 38%-50%.
[ppopup id="70925"]Six ways you can make money as the masses flock to Apple for the iPhone 5. [/ppopup]
And with Apple's huge patent case victory over Samsung two weeks ago casting a cloud over the iPhone's Android-based competitors, conditions are ideal for a huge iPhone 5 launch.
In a note last month, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, predicted the Apple iPhone 5 would be "the largest consumer electronics product upgrade in history." He forecast the iPhone 5 will sell 6-10 million units within its first 10 days.
Another analyst, Horace Dediu of Asymco, has projected iPhone 5 sales of about 170 million units over the next year, which would beat first-year sales of the iPhone 4S by about 70%.
Given that the iPhone contributes more than half of Apple's profits, any large increase in iPhone sales will deliver a mammoth boost to the bottom line. And those rapidly rising profits will keep pushing AAPL higher.
AAPL shot past its previous intraday high record of $644 by reaching $648.19 during Friday's session. The close of $648.11 easily broke the $636.23 record closing price set on April 9.
Today (Monday) Apple stock is up more than 1% in early trading, reaching an intraday high of $656.35.
That's hardly what many investors expected after Apple reported on July 24 that it missed on its June quarter earnings and offered weak guidance for the current quarter.
After that Apple stock dipped into the $570 range several times before quietly starting its climb back to its previous high.
Since those lows of late July, AAPL has soared 12% -- more than twice the rise of the Standard & Poor's 500 index and almost triple the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
How can this be? Why are investors so high on a company that hasn't really done anything spectacular lately?
Some tech pundits think that because Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) has so much cash -- $117 billion as of the June quarter - and lacks a presence in social media, buying Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) just makes sense.
Those with more level heads think such a move would be a spectacularly bad idea -- and extremely unlikely.
"I can see Microsoft making a stupid decision like this but not Apple - MSFT has a history of overpaying for questionable assets, being late to the game and having lost what truly innovative mojo they had under [CEO Steve] Ballmer's watch," said Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald.
"I think Apple knows that the Facebook model is kaput and that it's not profitable - very similar to Google in that regard, which has held off from really rolling out Google+," Fitz-Gerald added."Shareholders would revolt...and so would the institutional money."
But Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has strongly hinted at a cozier Apple-Facebook relationship.
Calling Facebook a "great company" at the D10 conference in May, Cook said, "We have great respect for them. I think we can do more with them. Just stay tuned on this one."
Why Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) Will Not Buy FBFacebook's shaky business model isn't the only reason Apple would shy away from buying the social media giant.
Instead they came from a trip to the mall.
As always, Lynch was interested in what people were buying there.
However, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal by Rolfe Winkler there's a new twist to this theory: these days it also pays to keep an eye not on what consumers are buying, but what criminals are stealing.
As Winkler claims we're suddenly in the grips of an "iCrime Wave". Not surprisingly, the products mentioned are those from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL).
What's also interesting is what's not mentioned.
There are no crimes associated with Samsung, the world's largest mobile phone company who partners with Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) in the Galaxy Nexus.
There is no report of the criminal element targeting the Blackberry from Research-in-Motion Ltd. (Nasdaq: RIMM), even though it was the first smartphone.
And no Lumias are certainly mentioned from the partnership of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT).
As Israel Ganot, the founder of Gazelle, an electronics recycler, notes, "There is insatiable demand for iPhones outside the U.S., mostly in emerging markets."
That is certainly the case in China, where more than 20 fake Apple stores have been busted.
Meanwhile, there no reports of stores anywhere that traffic in fake Research-in-Motion or Nokia products.
Revenue for Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) third quarter was $35.2 billion, missing the consensus of $37.1 billion and only showing year-over-year growth of 23.2%. That growth rate was far below the 82% in reported for Q3 2011.
Profit growth slowed as well. Apple earned just $9.32 per share in the June quarter compared to analyst expectations of $10.38. That put Apple's bottom-line growth at 27.5% year over year, little more than a quarter of last year's eye-popping 125%.
Disappointed investors sent AAPL down 5% in after-hours trading.
The Apple earnings miss was driven mostly by lower iPhone sales of 26 million, while analysts had expected 29 million, although Mac sales also were short of expectations.
Several Wall Street analysts had lowered their expectations for iPhone sales in recent weeks, but Apple even missed those reduced numbers.
The bleak news carried over to gross margin as well, which came in at 42.8%, short of the consensus number of 44%.
The only positives were the iPad and iPod. Sales of the iPad were 17 million, beating the consensus of about 15 million. Sales of the iPod, which have been slowing for years, were actually up 10% to 6.8 million.
But it was the bad news that dominated this Apple earnings report.
Since its official launch on June 29, 2007, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has sold well over 180 million iPhones. Hands down, it's the most successful mobile phone ever launched.
But what most investors don't realize is the huge impact the iPhone has had on medicine.
The fact is, more than any other product on the planet, the iPhone is driving a whole new sector called mobile healthcare, or mHealth for short.
With an iPhone in hand, it will redefine how doctors and other health-care pros work with their patients.
But here's the big payoff: mHealth promises to save millions of lives as doctors use it to detect and treat diseases much more quickly than they could with old-school devices.
These radical advances will undoubtedly make lots of early mHealth investors quite rich.
But don't take my word for it....
A trade group known as GSMA says the mobile healthcare sector will reach total sales of $23 billion by 2017.
Of course, phones and tablets that use Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android operating system also could play a big role in the sector.
But at this point the iPhone remains the clear leader in this rapidly growing market.
It's So Much More Than a Phone
That's why I'm glad to introduce you to a startup firm that has staked much of its future on the iPhone platform.
To continue reading, please click here...
The Worldwide Developers Conference is Apple's annual event aimed at those who write apps for Macs, iPhones and iPads.
WWDC's "grabber" product is the next generation MacBook Pro. This very thin laptop -- 0.71 inches - features the same high-resolution Retina display technology as the iPhone 4s and the third-generation iPad. It adds ports using the new USB 3.0 standard as well as Intel Corp.'s (Nasdaq: INTC) developed Thunderbolt technology.
Of course, all the fancy new bells and whistles come at a price - this fancy new MacBook Pro starts at $2,199.
Apple also unveiled upgrades to the rest of its MacBook line, which were all blessed with Intel's new "Ivy Bridge" chipset in addition to USB 3.0.
The popular MacBook Air also got something unexpected: a $100 price cut on both base models. That puts Apple's cheapest laptop at $999, a clear attempt to better compete with "ultrabooks" - the MacBook Air's Windows PC imitators.
Contrary to rumors, a new Mac Pro desktop did not appear at WWDC 2012. Perhaps the changes are major enough to warrant a separate "Apple event" later in the year.
Or the tech giant could blow its chance and wind up paying billions of dollars in licensing fees.
The outcome hinges on how Apple deals with a little-known company based in Sweden.
This micro-cap just happened to file a patent for the "swipe-to-unlock" touchscreen gesture in 2002 - three years before Apple filed its patent.
The company, Neonode (Nasdaq: NEON), received its U.S. patent in January.
Neonode holds a number of touchscreen-related patents that could become decisive in several of Apple's mobile computing patent cases.
Already the "swipe-to-unlock" patent helped Samsung defeat Apple in a recent patent case in the Netherlands. Samsung said the patent, as well as a phone Neonode released in 2005, represented "prior art."
"Apple just shot itself in the foot and all the blood is going to go to NEON," Jim Altucher, managing director of Formula Capital and well-known investor, wrote in a blog post Tuesday evening.
Insiders told The Wall Street Journal in April that Samsung plans to use the Neonode patent in a similar but much more crucial case in San Jose, CA, scheduled for a July trial.
And Altucher added a scarier prospect for Apple.
If Neonode does indeed hold the patent trump card for "swipe-to-unlock," it could gun for a cut of Apple's profits by filing its own patent case.
Should Apple be forced to fork over licensing fees to Neonode, it could cost the Cupertino, CA, company billions of dollars a year.
So far all this sounds like a big mess for AAPL and a big opportunity for its patent war rivals. Not just Samsung, but also for such titans as Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT).
Yet if Apple acts boldly, it could gain a crucial advantage on its mobile computing competitors.
With its massive market cap, trend-setting products, and global brand recognition, it is easy to argue Apple belongs as much or more than any of the current tech companies in the index.
In fact, Apple has superseded all of them, particularly Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT).
Yet the Dow Jones has ignored Apple while letting far weaker companies like, Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC)and Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) remain.
So what gives?...
In a nutshell, Apple stock is too rich for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Because the Dow Jones is price-weighted, Apple's current $565 share price would simply overwhelm the index.
If included, Apple stock would account for about 25% of the Dow Jones. That's more than double the 11.5% of current leader International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM).
"It wouldn't be the Dow Jones Industrial Average," Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group told the Associated Press. "It would be the Apple Plus Some Other Stuff Index."
In this case, a price move of just 5% in Apple stock could push the DJIA up - or down - about 200 points.
Looking at it another way, had Apple been added to the Dow Jones in 2009 instead of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), the Dow would now be over 15,000.
That's well above the Oct. 2007 record of 14,164 and 2,500 points higher than where it stands today.
With that kind of heft, it's no wonder the Dow has shunned Apple.
How the Dow Jones Industrial Average WorksBut it's not just Apple. Other Dow candidates trade high in the triple digits as well.
Over the past year, the two tech titans have filed dozens of patent infringement lawsuits against each other in 10 countries. Most seek to block the sale of one or more of the other's smartphone and tablet products.
The biggest case, filed in San Jose, CA, is scheduled for a July trial, which U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh is desperate to avoid. (She called the case "cruel and unusual punishment" for the jury.)
Earlier this week Koh ordered the CEOs of both Apple and Samsung to meet in mediation sessions, but nothing came of the meetings.
The mutual stubbornness makes sense when you realize what's at stake.
But given the absence of any catastrophic bad news, why is AAPL stock tumbling? And where will it stop?
It's important to note off the bat that Apple's fundamentals are just as strong as they were last fall when the stock began its huge run-up from just under $400 to $636.23 on April 9 (it hit an intraday high of $644 on April 10).
In short: Apple still expects to make a mountain of profit this year. Apple still has over $100 billion in cash with no debt. The company's price/earnings ratio is about 13.50 for the trailing 12 months and its forward P/E just 10.
So something else must be driving down Apple stock. Some of it is logical, some of it emotional - but none of it permanent.
Let's take a closer look:
- A Parabolic Rise: First and foremost, AAPL simply rose too far too quickly. Rapid gains beg profit-taking.
Although both retailers have already been selling Apple merchandise, the new "micro-stores" will expand the current offerings (with the exception of Mac computers) and create a product experience more akin to an Apple Store.
Several dozen more micro-stores are planned, though the rollout will be gradual.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said Apple's long-term goal isn't so much to stuff a micro-store into every Wal-Mart and Target, but to place them strategically in rural areas many miles from the mostly urban, wildly successful mall-based Apple Stores.
"We always talk about growth outside the U.S.," Munster said on CNBC recently. "The reality is, just look in our backyard. There's still a growth opportunity that no one's talking about, which is kind of outside the urban areas."
The allure for Wal-Mart and Target is the extraordinary foot traffic Apple products can generate. They're hoping that customers who come to shop for Apple products will stick around to buy other merchandise.
If the strategy works, both Apple and the big retailers win. But, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
In fact, Apple is no stranger to what can go wrong with the store-within-a-store concept.