Friday, May 28, 2010, 07:45 am PT (10:45 am ET)
iTunes.com, new Macs pegged as potential Apple WWDC revealsWhile the new iPhone is expected to be the centerpiece of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, one analyst said Friday that Apple may also announced a cloud-based iTunes service, as well as Mac Pro and MacBook Air upgrades.
Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. issued a note to investors in which he saidhe believes the new "iPhone HD" will become the new flagship handset, while last year's iPhone 3GS will become the low-end model. He said the $99 iPhone 3G has arguably been "disappointing," as most Apple customers have opted to upgrade to the iPhone 3GS.
But Wu said there is a possibility that CEO Steve Jobs could use the June 7 keynote to unveil "iTunes.com," a name commonly used to refer to Apple's unannounced cloud-based streaming music service. If Apple did unveil the service, it would be a surprise, as previous rumors have alleged that the company is engaged only in preliminary negotiations with record labels over such a service.
Talks with the labels have reportedly gained little traction, as they feel streaming a single purchase to multiple devices constitutes multiple uses. By that definition, the labels could seek a greater share of revenue from iTunes purchases.
Apple's negotiating tactics with the labels have gained the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice. Staff members with the department have reportedly started inquiries with music labels as part of a broad investigation of the online music market.
Wu also noted that the Mac Pro and MacBook Air were last refreshed in March and June of 2009, respectively, making the computers potential candidates for an update at the June 7 keynote.
Earlier this month, a rumor suggested an update for the MacBook Air was imminent, though that failed to materialize. Apple did, however, quietly refresh its low-end MacBook, giving it a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics.
In March, AppleInsider reported that Apple would update its desktop Mac Pro by June, adding a total of 12-cores from Intel's latest Westmere architecture to the high-end desktop. Apple is also expected to release a second LED-backlit Cinema Display, measuring 27-inches diagonally and resembling its existing 24-inch model released in October of 2008.
Wu expects Apple to report $14 billion in revenue and $2.90 in earnings per share, above the Wall Street consensus of $13.9 billion and $2.84 EPS, for the June quarter. He believes Apple will sell 8.05 million iPhones, 3.2 million Macs, 2 million iPads, and 10 million iPods. Kaufman Bros. has reiterated its buy rating for AAPL stock, and maintained a price target of $320.
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