With Apple's annual World Wide Developer Conference behind us for another year, analysts are looking through the pieces the company dropped in our laps during the keynote presentation for clues as to what might be coming next. Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um thinks iOS 7's fall release schedule means we'll get a new iPhone in September, and he also thinks iTunes Radio will be a tool to draw in and keep new customers.
Maynard Um: Expect new iPhones in September
"The availability of iOS 7 in the fall reinforces our expectation for an iPhone launch in September," Mr. Um said. "The addition of new services such as iTunes Radio, in our opinion, will help user acquisition and retention, rather than serve as a standalone business model."
Apple previewed iOS 7, the next version of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch operating system, during a keynote presentation at WWDC on June 10. The new iOS version will include redesigned icons and apps, easier access to commonly used settings, AirDrop file sharing support, improved multitasking, and more.
According to the company, iOS 7 will be available for the iPhone 4 and newer, the iPad 2 and newer and the fifth generation iPod touch some time this fall. That fall window, Mr. Um expects, will come in September and will also see the introduction of the next generation iPhone.
Apple has released new iPhone models along side major iOS updates in the past, so it seems likely we may see that again, and a September launch fits since the iPhone 5 was launched in September 2012.
On iTunes Radio, Apple's online streaming music service, Mr. Um said,
Similar to Apple's other services (iTunes, iCloud), we do not expect the iTunes Radio business to become a material standalone business model by itself, but, rather, believe the service will make its platform and ecosystem more attractive and useful to end users for both acquisition and retention. We believe staying true to its one core business profit model strategy is critical to ensuring the company can stay focused by driving to one vision and end goal. iTunes Radio will be tightly integrated into iTunes, which could further help subsidize the service.
Apple also introduced new MacBook Air models and previewed a completely redesigned Mac Pro at WWDC. The new MacBook Air models offer substantially longer battery life and better performance thanks in part to INtel's Haswell Core i5 and i7 processors. What we didn't see at WWDC was an updated MacBook Pro.
"While there may be some disappointment around the lack of MacBook Pro refresh, we still expect Apple to refresh these products based on new Intel chips," he said. "While Apple is not immune to the demand challenges in the PC market, we believe it will likely continue to generate high percentage of industry's profits (we calculate about 55 percent in 2012), despite a low unit share (about 5 percent)."
Looking forward, Mr. Um is expecting a 9 percent decline in Mac laptop sales in fiscal 2013 and isn't yet saying what he expects to see out of new Mac Pro sales when it ships later this year.
Mr. Um's 12 month target range for Apple's stock is between US$485 and $525. Apple is currently trading at $432.61, up 0.61 (0.14%).