Goldman’s Got a New Guy on AAPL

The Daily Observation Deck Feature

Goldman Sachs turns sweet on Apple, iPhone may go yellow today, and news for Apple TV plus Apple TV+. 

Goldman Sachs Ups Apple Rating from ‘Neutral’ to ‘Buy,’ Target from $130 to $199

Analyst “Rowdy” Rod Hall, Goldman Sachs’ bearish Apple tracker for quite some time, has left the building. A piece from Apple 3.0 says Hall quietly retired five months ago. After a bit of downtime for the firm, where Apple is concerned, say hello to a bullish sounding Michael Ng. 

He initiated his coverage of the Cupertino-company on Monday, and boy is he into it. A piece from Barron’s (via Apple News) had the analyst saying, “we believe the market’s focus on slower product revenue growth masks the strength of the Apple ecosystem and associated revenue durability and visibility…” Another piece from Apple 3.0 had the analyst listing sets and subsets of factors working in Apple’s favor. Paraphrasing some:

  • While sales might be slow right now, the “active iPhone installed base continues to grow…”
  • While people are holding their phones for longer, when they buy — those purchases are skewing to the high end, protecting Apple’s Average Revenue per User
  • He sees growth coming back for the App Store
  • He sees Apple’s investments in content paying off for Apple TV+ (with a side of good times ahead for Apple Music)
  • Apple’s ad business should keep growing in a the world of App Tracking Transparency

And that list goes on. 

Hardly New Sentiments for Goldman Sachs, Although It Has Been A While

Ng’s ideas aren’t entirely new. We heard similar sentiments from Morgan Stanley analyst Erik Woodring earlier this week. Quoting his note:

What gets us most excited as an Apple analyst today is the business model transformation Apple is undergoing, shifting toward a model focused on installed base monetization rather than unit growth, which in our view, increasingly argues for a valuation more commensurate of a subscription-like business [instead of a technology platform.]

Funny story: Ng’s ideas aren’t even new for Goldman Sachs — it’s just been a while. Apple 3.0 says Ng’s thinking puts his firm back where it was before Rod Hall hit the scene in the 20-teens. In November of 2015 — a little over three-years before Apple stopped reporting unit sales for iPhone or anything else, then Goldman analyst Simona Jankowski wrote up an idea called “Apple-as-a Service.” According to Apple 3.0:

[Jankowski] thought the days of measuring [Apple] by counting iPhones unit sales might be coming to an end. “The smartphone battleground is shifting from unit land grab,” she wrote in a note dated Nov. 15, 2015, “to user monetization through content and services such as video, music, apps, games and payments.”

Anyway — there’s a new sheriff with old/new again ideas in town. Goldman Sachs analyst Michael Ng starts his Apple coverage with a “Buy” rating, up from Hall’s “Neutral.” Ng’s 12-month price target on Apple shares is $199, up from Hall’s old and seriously soggy target of $130.

iPhone 14 Line Could Go Yellow Today

There may be a new hue of iPhone as early as today. Rumors have been bubbling for the past few days that Apple might update the iPhone 14 line with shades of yellow. A springtime color refresh for iPhone has been a thing for the past couple of years. A piece from MacRumors reminds us that:

On Tuesday, March 8 of 2022, Apple introduced a new Green color for the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, and a new Alpine Green color for the iPhone 13 Pro models. In April 2021, Apple made the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini available in Purple.

The move to green for iPhone 13 was a year ago tomorrow — a point not lost on Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The same MacRumors piece had Gurman hitting Twitter with the message:

Nearly a year to the day after the announcement of the green iPhone 13, a new iPhone 14 color is indeed imminent.

Additionally, the MacRumors piece says Apple has scheduled product briefings with reporters for today. While those could be tied to the new iPhone color, the site was not able to confirm the topic on Monday.

iPhone-to-iPhone Payment Option Activated for Stores Built on Wix

iPhone-to-iPhone payment recipients grew by a lot on Monday. Another piece from MacRumors says the wireless transaction feature is now available to businesses who’s online stores are built on the platform. 

If you’ve forgotten what the feature is, we reported on the upcoming feature more than a year ago. The service allows for iPhone-to-iPhone payments:

…through a supporting iOS app on an iPhone XS or later device.

At the time, Apple pointed out the privacy features of the payment method. We learned early on that it would work very similarly to how Apple Pay functions.

Apple says Tap to Pay on iPhone will be private. Payment data is protected by the same technology that makes Apple Pay private and secure. 

All transactions are encrypted and processed using the iPhone’s Secure Element.

As for the new recipients, the piece says businesses with sites set up through Wix “can accept payments with Tap to Pay on iPhone using the Wix Owner app,” once they’ve activated the feature. With over 700,000 online stores powered by the platform, Apple and Wix opened a lot of potential payments through iPhone on Monday. 

Microsoft Makes Outlook for Mac Free to Use

If cost is what has kept you out of Outlook for Mac, cost is no longer an issue. Engadget says: 

Microsoft has made Outlook for Mac free to use. You previously needed either a Microsoft 365 subscription or an Office purchase to use the email client.

Outlook for Mac is available now on the Mac App Store

Tales from Apple TV Land

tvOS 16.3.3. Fixes Siri Remote for Third-Generation Apple TV 4K

Updates for Apple TV and Apple TV+. Starting with the device, a piece from AppleInsider says Apple has released tvOS 16.3.3. Short and sweet, the release notes say the update “fixes an issue were the Siri Remote can become unresponsive on Apple TV 4K (3rd generation).” 

If your Apple TV is set to update automatically, it should update automatically. If it’s not, or if you’re just not that patient, you can make it happen in Settings, then System, then Software Update. 

Apple TV+ Releases Trailer for ‘Silo’ Ahead of May Premiere

From the streaming device to the streaming service, Apple TV+ has released trailers for a couple of big titles on the way. In a press release, the Cupertino-streamer teased the dystopian series “Silo.” Based on the Hugh Howey novels (originally called Wool), the release says:

“Silo” is the story of the last ten thousand people on earth, their mile-deep home protecting them from the toxic and deadly world outside. However, no one knows when or why the silo was built and any who try to find out face fatal consequences.

The last 10K is full of recognizable faces. Stars of the show include Rebecca Ferguson, Common, David Oyelowo, Rashida Jones, Tim Robbins, and the list goes on. The first two episodes of “Silo” hit Apple TV+ on Friday, May 5. Subsequent episodes will follow on following Fridays through the end of June. If you want a shot of tension tinged with sadness, you can catch the trailer on YouTube

Trailer for ‘Ghosted’ Shows Up

Apple’s next big feature has a trailer and a release date. In another Monday press release, the Cupertino-streamer gave the world its first glimpse of Ghosted. Describing the film, the release says:

In “Ghosted,” salt-of-the-earth Cole (Chris Evans) falls head over heels for enigmatic Sadie (Ana de Armas) — but then makes the shocking discovery that she’s a secret agent. Before they can decide on a second date, Cole and Sadie are swept away on an international adventure to save the world.

Nothing small about this one. Big stunts and a big cast, including the aforementioned Evans and de Armas, as well as Adrian Brody, Mike Moh, Amy Sedaris, Tim Blake Nelson, and Tate Donovan. 

Have popcorn on hand — Apple’s apparently skipping the theater this time around. The company says Ghosted will premiere globally on Apple TV+ on Friday, April 21. If you want to see what you may be in for, you can catch the trailer on YouTube.

‘Severance’ and ‘Life By Ella’ Win Writers Guild Awards for Apple TV+

And finally today, make more room in the trophy case. Apple issued a press release Monday announcing three wins at last weekend’s Writers Guild Awards. One was for the kids and family series “Life By Ella.” It took the award for Best Children’s Episodic, Long Form and Specials for the episode “Prison or Palace.” While no offense is meant to Ella & Co, the bigger awards went to “Severance.” According to the release, the disturbing workplace drama “landed top honors, winning Best Drama and Best New Series, as the only series to earn two major category wins.” 

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

Oh, the stories we tell. TMO Managing Editor Jeff Butts and  I talk about Goldman’s change on Apple shares. Plus — Ghosted is ghosting the big screen for the big screen in your living room. All of that plus Big Yellow iPhone talk on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

One thought on “Goldman’s Got a New Guy on AAPL

  • Ken:

    Michael Ng is a breath of fresh air to oxygen-deprived brain cells at Goldman Sachs. His analysis that Apple are moving away from a strategy focussed on unit growth, as Erik Woodring avers, to installed base monetisation is a welcome return to sanity; and fits with what we have been describing as Apple’s business model moving from one designed around isolated products to an integrated and increasingly sophisticated and capable platform comprised of an expanding array of AI-enhanced physical products, software and services. As a whole-widget company, Apple are supremely poised to carry that model where few can follow. One of their main competitors (Alphabet) may have reached the limit on non-regulated monetisation of user data via ads, and may be compelled to prematurely launch into monetisation of AI-aided search, going toe to toe with another behemoth (Microsoft) that is already revving that search-bot engine across their entire enterprise platform. Social media are all on a separate trajectory, and are not Apple’s principal competitors.

    Apple’s main competition will come from Asia, notably South Korea and China, with the latter laser-focussed on leveraging their economic and political clout, when not their military intelligence-mediated espionage (theft), on acquiring Apple’s and other American firms’ IP in order to leapfrog their Western rivals on next generation technologies. Apple would be wise not to rule out an India surprise (think of a regulation jack-in-the-box).

    The difference between Apple and mainland Chinese concerns, and therefore the advantage, being that Apple is freely engaged in free market enterprise on the battleground of the competition of ideas, solutions and consumer uptake without the burden of having their technological and biological distinctiveness serving the machinations of a State committed to becoming the world’s foremost economic and military superpower. State sponsorship hath its price.

    The principal headwinds Apple face are the vindictive and protectionist impulses of the EU, the small-mindedness of a polarised US legislature, whose paralysis in producing new legislation may alone protect Apple from misguided attempts at correcting an ill-defined anti-competitiveness in the marketplace, and the increasingly sophisticated exploits by state actors to steal Apple’s IP as well as compromise the security and privacy features of Apple’s platform.

    A walk in the park. A Cretaceous park.

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