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Apple's WWDC keynote was about developers & software differentiation, say analysts

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Analysts have been quick to offer diverse reactions to Apple's WWDC 2019 announcements, though generally agreeing that the company put a focus on unique software upgrades and helping out app developers.


Apple's emphasis was on "further extending its competitive differentiation over other consumer device OEMs with an emphasis on its software leadership," claimed JPMorgan's Samik Chatterjee. The analyst highlighted privacy features in iOS 13 such as "Sign in With Apple," and the creation of iPadOS, shifting away from giving iPads "second hand features of the iPhone."

Chatterjee also fancied multi-user options in tvOS 13, and the improved independence of the Apple Watch via watchOS 6, namely standalone apps and a dedicated App Store.

JPMorgan is holding on to an "overweight" rating for Apple stock with a $173.30 price target.

Loup Ventures

Gene Munster cited Apple's themes as privacy, "making life easier for developers," and the Watch's independence upgrades. On the developer front, Loup conducted a "buzz" survey of 30 developers at WWDC, 70% of whom said the biggest keynote announcement was actually SwiftUI — a way of further streamlining app development through graphical controls, reducing the amount of manual coding involved.

Morgan Stanley

Apple's best chance for growth is "driving increased user engagement with apps," said Katy Huberty, something enhanced by its work to make platforms "more and more tailored to maximize the user experience on each respective platform at the same time they are becoming easier to create for the developer community."

She cited not just watchOS 6, but Project Catalyst — formerly Marzipan — which makes it easier to develop for iOS, iPadOS, and/or macOS simultaneously.

"After today's announcements, we believe Apple Watch and Mac will more meaningfully contribute to App Store growth, while further solidifying Apple as the most attractive platform for app developers," Huberty wrote.

She also highlighted Apple's efforts to "attract more commercial users," including iPadOS and the long-demanded modular Mac Pro. "Extending the functionality of iPad and Mac into the commercial and enterprise market presents significant market share opportunity given Apple's commercial PC revenue mix of 37% is significantly lower than the market, at 55%," she concluded.

Morgan Stanley is holding an "overweight" rating for Apple shares with a $231 target.