Analysts on Wall Street came away generally pleased with this week's announcement of Apple Watch launch details, viewing the new platform as a way to extend the company's valuable ecosystem and generate more revenue from high-margin products.
Apple is expected to announce yet another quarter of record sales next week, a trend that investment bank Morgan Stanley believes will continue throughout the spring as demand for the iPhone and Mac remains strong alongside the long-awaited release of the Apple Watch.
Morgan Stanley joins a number of other investment firms that have raised their price targets on shares of Apple stock this week, reflecting significant gains posted by the company heading into the holiday shopping season and in anticipation of next year's debut of the Apple Watch.
The average selling price of tablets continues to drop, according to the latest research from IDC, as sales growth in the tablet market is reportedly being driven by low-end, low-cost devices, just as Apple has entered the sub-$250 market with the first-generation iPad mini.
With the redesigned iPhone 6 expected to set new sales records this holiday season, the impending launch of the Apple Pay mobile wallet service expected to catch on with consumers, and next year's debut of the Apple Watch, analysts on Wall Street were largely satisfied with Apple's announcements this week.
Apple is on the verge of a major new iPhone product cycle, but this one will be unlike any other launch before it, making it an ideal time for investors to buy in to the company's stock, Morgan Stanley said on Tuesday, helping shares to touch $100 in mid-day trading.
The data in Apple's recently released 10-Q filing reveals the company has invested heavily in manufacturing and component purchases as it gears up for a series of highly anticipated major product launches this fall, including a next-generation iPhone and anticipated "iWatch."
Strong customer loyalty for Apple's iPhone is predicted by Morgan Stanley to drive a so-called "halo effect" for sales of the company's rumored "iWatch," prompting the investment firm on Monday to increase its price target for AAPL stock to $110.
Though shares of Apple have been trending upward lately, institutional investors — including hedge funds, banks, mutual funds and other powerful types of financial institutions — have not yet bought in, suggesting that when they do, AAPL stock could move much higher.
A strong recommendation for Apple stock was pushed by investment firm Morgan Stanley on Thursday, which said now is the right time to invest due to low institutional ownership, resilient iPhone sales, and anticipated upcoming product launches.
Institutional ownership of large-cap stocks is currently at high levels, but there is one glaring exception to that trend: Apple, which is currently at a five-year low among hedge funds, banks, mutual funds, and other powerful types of financial institutions.
While research firms Gartner and IDC have very different projections on how Apple's Mac lineup performed in the holiday quarter, both sides can agree on one thing: PC shipments continued to shrink over the holidays, as consumers once again opted for tablets over traditional computers.
A survey of consumers in China has found that an anticipated deal to sell the iPhone with carrier China Mobile could incrementally boost Apple's handset sales in calendar 2014 by at least 12 million units, though there is potential for much more.
Apple's decision to split the iPhone lineup into a high-end flagship model and a more affordable mid-range offering sets the stage for the company to increase the frequency with which it updates the handsets, one analyst increasingly believes after meeting with the company's chief executive, Tim Cook.
Apple beat Wall Street expectations and left analysts satisfied with its September quarter, though market watchers are already more focused on anticipated blockbuster sales of new iPhone and iPad models in the current holiday quarter.