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Talking 'Applesphere' With UBS

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Talking 'Applesphere' With UBS
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Last week, rumors circulated that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL)'s coming streaming music service will have social network integration, specifically for artists.

There haven't been any updates to this story, and there likely won't be until Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

But that didn't stop UBS from commenting on it this morning.

"Apple Music could be another platform play," analyst Steven Milunovich wrote in a note to investors.

"We don't spend much time on the parlour game of predicting new Apple products," he explained. "But we did want to comment on press speculation that Apple's coming streaming music service will include a social networking platform...this would be another example of [the company] complementing its vertically-integrated hardware with multi-sided platforms."

UBS calls the idea the "Applesphere."

Related Link: Everything You Need To Know From Carl Icahn's Apple Letter

Generally speaking, the idea of giving artists their own social pages has the feel of Spotify and Pandora Media Inc (NYSE: P), though it also "edges" into Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) territory. Spotify is integrated with Facebook, for example; it's unknown if Apple Music would also allow social integration.

Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) has been deeply integrated with the iPhone since iOS 5.

The future remains unclear, and it's unknown exactly how much a music platform will materially affect Apple's bottom line. UBS, in fact, says it might not.

Still, the potential to provide a broader ecosystem for Apple users...that's a story investors will be watching. The ecosystem is one of the reasons Carl Icahn likes the stock so much, and sees it going to $240 a share.

UBS holds a valuation target of $150 on Apple stock, behind FBR's Street-high mark of $185.

Latest Ratings for AAPL

DateFirmActionFromTo
Oct 2016Goldman SachsMaintainsBuy
Oct 2016Credit SuisseMaintainsOutperform
Oct 2016PiperJaffrayMaintainsOverweight

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