Despite Miss, Apple's Strongest Product Cycle Ever Could Be Just Ahead
Now the wait begins for the iPhone 5 and possibly three other major Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) product releases ahead of the holiday season.
Apple's June quarter is now out of the way. It was a thorough disappointment as earnings were a miss and its guidance for its September quarter were shockingly low.
It's unlikely that many long-term institutional holders will bail on the stock for two key reasons: The earnings beat potential and a potential flood of new products.
It's well known on the Street that Apple sandbags its earnings like few other companies.
Apple just missed, but had beaten analyst expectations by 17.1 percent on average over the previous eight quarters, according to Estimize.com. The company beat revenue expectations by 8.8 percent over that same period. That's even counting its one other earnings miss since 2003 -- back in Apple's October quarter last year.
Apple's management hates to disappoint the Street, and it rarely does. Judging from its guidance history, the company likely has set the bar low enough so it appears unlikely to continue to disappoint.
Keep in mind that investors who bought the dip in October last year are still up about 60 percent.
More importantly, Apple could have one of its strongest potential product introduction cycles ever heading into the holiday season. Analysts from Wells Fargo said last month that they expect the iPhone 5 to be the "biggest product launch in consumer electronics history".
A string of new products could help Apple continue to gain market share in smartphones, tablets and notebooks.
In a perfect world, here are some of the would-be catalysts for Apple's stock:
- The iPhone 5 could come sooner than expected. Most everyone is talking about an October launch, says Brian J. White of Topeka Capital Markets. He adds that analysts do not have any iPhone 5 expectations baked into their forecasts -- and it sure doesn't appear that Apple is banking on the iPhone 5 for its September quarter. White told Benzinga that he thinks that the iPhone 5 could actually launch in September -- soon enough to make an impact on the quarter the company just guided lower. Given the pent-up demand, a few extra selling weeks could matter for the September quarter.
- TechCrunch cites a report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at KGI Securities who believes a new iPad mini will launch in September. It reportedly would have a 7.85-inch screen and would compete with similarly-sized devices from Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). The Wall Street Journal also reported on July 5 of a pending September iPad Mini launch, citing sources. The company is reportedly working with LG Display of South Korea and Taiwan's AU Optoelectronics on the screens.
- The laptop lineup may also see new contenders. A smaller and less expensive retina display MacBook Pro model could be launched in September, Kuo wrote in a research note shared with CNET. Kuo said the device may be an attractive option for those looking to buy either the existing 13-inch MacBook Pro or the MacBook Air. It could also help steal other laptop owners who are attracted to its premium display.
- Even one of the biggest updates to iTunes since it launched in 2003 may be in the works, says Bloomberg News. Closer integration with iTunes could be planned for multiple hardware product launches.
- The biggest potential catalyst of all could be the launch of the iPhone on the China Mobile network, with more than 1 billion subscribers, more than its other two China carriers combined. China alone accounts for roughly a quarter of Apple's iPhone revenue, and may count for even more over time. A story that appeared in Forbes with a justified Apple share price of $825, based on China Mobile selling 120 million additional iPhones by 2018.
Analyst defenses are sure to come in for Apple today; that's typcially what happens when a widely held stock has a rare miss.
If all its potential product releases actually happen, what analysts have to say might not affect to the stock price.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.