American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu on Monday issued a research report in which he maintained his "Buy" rating and US$101 price target on Appleis stock, pointing to a strong product pipeline in the second half of 2006 as the main reason for his decision.
Mr. Wu expects to see an Intel-based iBook replacement in June or July, which will be important for the back-to-school selling season. In addition, the analyst said that the iBook "is the second most important volume product in the Mac business (the most important being the iMac)."
Mr. Wu also sees Apple doubling the iPod nanois storage capacity to 4GB and 8GB and adding "basic video playback capability," both of which he believes will be key ways "to regenerate interest" in the devices. He sees those product refreshes happening next quarter.
During the final quarter of the year, the analyst expects a new version of Appleis flagship iPod. "We are picking up that AAPL is working hard on extending battery life on its next-generation widescreen vPod," he wrote. "The current vPodis battery life is great with audio but when one watches video, it lasts only about 75-90 minutes." He expects such a device to "serve as AAPLis new high-end iPod and not replace the current vPod, which in our checks, continues to sell well."
He summed up: "We remain firm believers that the move to digital entertainment is a multi-year trend and that AAPL is well-positioned to capitalize with its unique and defendable iPod + iTunes and Macintosh franchise." Wall Street on Monday seemed to agree with that sentiment, sending the companyis stock up 1.36%, or $0.96 to $71.35 by 11:36 AM EST. The shares have been trending higher since last week.