Good, Not-So-Good and … Indifferent? Apple News

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Morgan Stanley doubles down on Apple, Apple Watch drove smartwatches last year, and examining growth for Apple TV+. 

Morgan Stanley Makes AAPL ‘Top Pick’ for 2023

Wondering which is the best hardware stock to buy for 2023? Well we’re talking about it here, so… give you three guesses. 

AppleInsider has word on a new note from Morgan Stanley that says it’s Apple. 

Oh! Sorry! Did I give you enough time?!?

Carrying a theme launched by Katy Huberty years ago, Morgan Stanley’s current crop of analysts cites “underownership” of Apple by institutional investors as one reason for the stock’s current price. Additionally, the analysts cite “5 idiosyncratic tailwinds” that should propel Apple shares “over the next 6-9 months…” They include:

  1. “Re-accelerating” growth for Apple Services
  2. “Pent up demand” for the iPhone 15 (you heard me)
  3. An Apple AR headset
  4. A Possible hardware subscription service
  5. “Underappreciated” gross margins

“Idiosyncratic” seems a good word for it. 

While the firm does note that Apple could be hit by “deteriorating consumer electronics demand,” Morgan Stanley has ticker symbol AAPL down as its top-pick for 2023. The firm’s price target on the shares is $175.

Counterpoint Research: Apple Watch Drove Smartwatches Higher in 2022

The middle of the road was no place to be for smartwatch makers in 2022. New numbers from Counterpoint Research show growth last year for smartwatches priced under $100 and over $400, with Mr. In-Between falling down. 

And growth was top-heavy. According to the firm, shipments in the $100-or-less segment grew 34% versus 2021. Meanwhile shipments of smartwatches priced $400-or-more grew 129%. And thanks be to — wanna guess who? Counterpoint analyst Woojin Son was quoted in the piece, saying:

Apple strongly drove the average selling price (ASP) rise in the global smartwatch market in 2022, especially in the >$400 price band. There are two main reasons for this ASP rise – a diversified Apple smartwatch line-up and a rise in the exchange rate. This year, Apple released its first premium model, Ultra, at a release price of $799 in the US. In addition, as the exchange rate rose, the local price of Apple Watch in various countries changed. The demand for the premium segment remained relatively strong despite the decline in consumer sentiment at the end of 2022.

Adding more data on Apple, Counterpoint says shipments of Apple Watch:

…increased 17% YoY as the Apple Watch Series 8, Ultra and SE 2022 enjoyed strong sales. In addition, annual shipments increased by 50 million for the first time, accounting for about 60% of the global smartwatch market revenue and further widening the gap with No. 2 Samsung.

Running down the top-five in terms of market share: 

  • Apple was first with 34.1% globally
  • Samsung was second with 9.8%
  • Huawei was third with 6.7%
  • India’s Noise was fourth with 5.6%
  • India’s Fire Boltt was fifth with 5.5%

UBS Notes Lack of Marketshare Growth for Apple TV+ Among iPhone Owners

There’s an annoying note on Apple TV+ adoption from UBS analyst David Vogt. Annoying because it made me do a logic problem. Yahoo! Finance has the analyst saying that growth for the Cupertino-streamer has “flat-lined” among iPhone owners compared to other streaming services. 

Weird wording for a couple of reasons. First, to me “flat-lined” usually means died, though a data acquaintance of mine says to her, the terms “flat-lined” and plateaued are interchangeable. So, let’s say the growth among iPhone owners has plateaued. Well, you can’t if you count the number of subscribers. At least, I don’t think so.

According to the piece, UBS Evidence Labs polled 1,200 U.S. residents (nothin’ kinky) for their streaming habits. It’s unclear whether all 1,200 were iPhone owners, though Vogt’s quotes do center on those. For example, he says:

Just ~22% [of] iPhone owners subscribed to AppleTV+, essentially the same as the Jan 2020 data prior to Covid… While the adoption of Apple TV+ reached 26% in the Jan 2021 survey as customers consumed more media at home, adoption has backslid over the past several years.

Not that this was an issue unique to Apple TV+. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu have actually seen subscriptions dip among iPhone owners since 2020, according to the analyst. The Yahoo! Finance report goes on to say:

While the trend was largely flat to negative for most services, HBO Max adoption among iPhone users increased to 35% in UBS’ latest survey, up from the 19% seen in January 2021.

As far as respondents are concerned, it seems Apple TV+ just doesn’t have enough stuff. When it comes to “best value for the money,” respondents put Netflix on top at 27%, beating “both Amazon Prime Video and Hulu at 12%.” Only 5% of respondents gave Apple TV+ the “best value for the money” nod. 

That’s all about market share — and it’s not to be sneezed at, to be sure. But it seems likely that the 5% enjoyed by Apple TV+ today is bigger than the 5% from three-years ago. That’s because there are more iPhones out there today than there were three-years ago. Would Apple TV+ like a bigger share? No doubt. But they’ve almost definitely got significantly more subscribers. And that’s not nothin’.

Jon Stewart Goes Live Tonight on YouTube

And finally today — speaking of Apple TV+, one of its stars is going live on YouTube this evening. Cult of Mac says The Problem with Jon Stewart’s Jon Stewart is taking calls from the audience tonight — Thursday, Feb. 23. 

What do we know about it? Almost nothing. The Twitter post announcing the event said:

.@JonStewart is hosting a @TheProblem livestream! Tune into our YouTube channel on Thu, Feb. 23 at 9 PM ET. We’ll be taking your calls! Details to come. Subscribe so you don’t miss it…

…followed by a link to the show’s YouTube channel. Checking that link with about 16-hours to “showtime,” it still says “Details to come.” 

Details like what they’re talking about? How to call in? Not much more time for them. The cavalcade kicks off at 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific. You can watch it unfold and catch past videos at And — of course — you can stream past episodes of the show on Apple TV+. 

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

Bloomberg has run a “secret sources” report saying that Apple has hit a milestone on no-prick blood glucose monitoring. TMO Managing Editor Jeff Butts covers the tech in the story, while I have questions about the story itself. We’ll hit those on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

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