"We just met with Apple executives at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA, including Peter Oppenheimer, Greg Joswiak, and Eddy Cue."
Thus begins a note to clients sent Thursday by Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes. The note ends with Reitzes raising his Apple price target to $208 from $188 -- one of the sparks that sent Apple (aapl) shares up 1.88% to close at $168.42 for the day.
In between, Reitzes rattles off a list of new products he expects Apple to introduce in the months ahead. Although he insists the Apple execs he met didn't divulge any major secrets, Reitzes sounded pretty sure of himself. Among the coming attractions, as he sees them:
<!-- more -->
- New iPods with cameras (likely September). He expects a launch, possibly before the end of August, of iPod touches with cameras and video capabilities and perhaps even an iPod nano with a still camera -- prompting another round of iPod upgrades. "We believe that imaging ties in well with Apple's strengths in software and can help drive more Mac sales over time."
- A new tablet computer (likely in first half 2010, but possibly before the end of the year). He sees it priced between $399 and $999, and eventually becoming the fourth leg of Apple's business model. "We believe this type of product would open Apple up to more opportunities in mobile gaming, navigation services and other content related growth – which could all be distributed through iTunes."
- New low-end MacBooks (Q4 2009) He believes the MacBook line needs to be revamped (there is only one MacBook available now, an old white model). He expects to see new MacBooks before the end of the year that are priced below the low-end MacBook Pro.
- An upgrade for Apple TV (Q1 2010). "We believe Apple TV can eventually become a platform that integrates gaming and other new features."
- An iPhone for China (by year end). But as early as this September, according to his sources, with China Unicom as the most likely partner.
- A new iPhone upgrade cycle (2010) "We believe more can be done with product width, battery life, speakers, gaming controls and more. Also, many developers realize that Apps may need to be recompiled for new screen sizes and Apple may be taking steps behind the scenes to ease any transition."
Meanwhile, in other Apple news, buzz is growing for an early launch of Snow Leopard, perhaps on Friday, Aug. 28, which would put the latest major upgrade of Apple's flagship operating system in stores nearly two months ahead of the scheduled Oct. 22. launch of Microsoft's (msft) Windows 7. See here and here.
And leaks from the music industry suggest that there may be an Apple event scheduled for the week of Sept. 7, the usual time frame for new iPod introductions. See here.
It's starting to shape up as a busy fall.