Analyst: Apple Well Positioned Against Ultrabooks, Toaster/Fridges

Apple is well positioned to counter any perceived “threat” from Intel’s ultrabook concept, according to Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes. In a research note obtained by The Mac Observer, Mr. Reitzes effectively counseled clients not to worry about ultrabooks or toaster/fridges, arguing that Apple’s product line is well positioned against these devices.

“We continue to believe that the iPad will cannibalize PC sales and do not believe that Apple needs to launch a compromised ‘hybrid’ product of a Mac with a detachable screen,” Mr. Reitzes told clients.

He said that iPad users will increasingly dock their iPads to keyboards in the future, rather than turn to competing hybrid products. He also said that he was upbeat about prospects for new MacBooK Pro and iMac models he believes will be announced during the June quarter. He believes lower priced MacBook Air models will be unveiled during the September quarter.

“With new software (OSX Mountain Lion) and new Airs, we believe that Apple will effectively counter any perceived ‘threat’ from ultrabooks,” the analyst wrote.

Looking at recent data from IDC, Mr. Reitzes said that he believes threat from Amazon’s Kindle Fire was “waning,” and that the low-end device had “very little impact” on Apple’s March quarter iPad sales. IDC believes Amazon sold just 750,000 of the devices during the quarter.

“We believe iPad demand benefits from a lower priced iPad 2 in the product line up, in addition to the new iPad,” the analyst said. “We believe the iPad 2 will be popular in education and business over the next few quarters.”

He added, “Many consumers seem willing to pay $399 for a feature packed tablet with a strong and developed ecosystem rather than $199 for a relatively underpowered tablet.”

Looking out at the rest of the year, Mr. Reitzes said that iPad is likely to be the source of any upside surprise as Apple transitions to a new iPhone model. He also believes that prospects for Apple’s Mac line is “particularly strong through December.”

The analyst maintained his “Overweight” rating on Apple (he’s “Neutral” on the sector) and a $750 per share price target.

Shares of AAPL have been under pressure since April 25th, the day after the company announced record March quarter results, as noted in the chart below. The stock closed at $610 per share on that day, and has moved steadily lower since keeping pace with the broader markets.

AAPL Chart

Three Month AAPL Chart (With Handy Labels)
Source: Yahoo! Finance

The stock closed at $568.18 per share on Tuesday, down $1.30 (-0.23 percent), on light volume of 17.7 million shares trading hands.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.