Apple WWDC 15: What the analysts are saying – update
Excerpts from the notes we’ve seen so far. More as they come in.
Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray: Subtle Changes Add Up To Better User Experience. “While WWDC lacked a blockbuster announcement, the combination of many incremental product innovations to iOS, Apple Pay and Apple Music add up to a better user experience, which we believe will allow Apple to continue to gain share in the high- end smartphone market, PC market and wearables market. This translates into increased confidence that Apple can meet Street growth rates for the next year plus (Street at 6% growth in FY16). We expect shares of AAPL to move higher as investors increasingly think about the company as an annuity hardware business.” Overweight. $162.
Brian White, Cantor Fitzgerald: Enhancing and Expanding the Reach Of “Planet Apple.” “We believe Apple’s digital ecosystem is often under appreciated, operating in the shadow of the company’s mobile device portfolio. Once again, in our view, the market appears to be running scared as it relates to Apple, yet we believe the company’s future prospects have never been brighter and the stock is trading at just over 10x our CY:16 EPS projection (ex-cash).” Buy. $195.
Andrew Uerkwitz, Oppenheimer: Music to our ears. “While there were no big surprises, investors shouldn’t overlook the multitude of tweaks Apple made to its OS. Cumulatively the updates will, in our view, further separate its eco- system and UI from the competition. This supports our thesis that Apple will continue to outperform smartphone sales expectations and gives us confidence in our above- Street estimates for 2016. Arguably there is even upside to our numbers with the addition of Apple Music and a rejuvenated iPad interface.” Outperform. $155.
Kulbinder Garcha, Credit Suisse: Furthering Compute Advantage. “Apple continues to demonstrate how its integration across hardware, software and services based on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch could result in a sustainable differentiating advantage over rival platforms. This creates a virtuous circle for its business lines: high levels of usage and differentiation allows more devices to be plugged into the platform.” Outperform. $145.
Timothy Arcuri, Cowan: Singing a New Song at WWDC 2015. “WWDC was another small step in AAPL’s evolving software and service platforms as the company drives long-term ecosystem lock-in. The most meaningful news are the new developer tools for Apple Watch and the launch of Apple Music – a better, cheaper, and more personalized replacement to iTunes Radio that could ultimately help displace entrenched offerings once pre-loaded on AAPL devices.” Outperform. $140.
James Cardwell, Atlantic Equities: Enhancing content discovery, creation, curation. “Apple used the WWDC keynote to unveil new Mac, iPhone/iPad and Watch operating systems, and to launch the Apple Music streaming service. While there was little genuinely new innovation, key features focused on improving capabilities in content discovery, creation and curation, which in combination should maintain the attractiveness of Apple’s platform.” Overweight. $150.
Ananda Baruah, Brean Capital: Key New Features For Music, Watch & Pay Can Be Quite Material. “We particularly liked that 1) AAPL has managed to combine the features of Soundcloud, Ping, Spotify, and Pandora into a single app, 2) that just 6 weeks after Watch availability AAPL is already coming out with serious enhancements, including app logic on the watch itself, compared to keeping it on the Phone; huge for creating new watch applications, and 3) Apple Pay coming to the UK, and importantly now honoring retailer credit cards and loyalty cards.” Buy. $170.
Alex Gauna, JMP: No real surprises. “The developments made us neither more nor less optimistic over the future earnings power of Apple, with the positives of its sound technology and feature advances offset by the negative of no new hardware or meaningfully different category drivers.” Market outperform. $150.
Maynard Um, Wells Fargo: WWDC largely as expected. “There were, in our opinion, no surprises at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote with no new hardware or Apple TV related announcements. The most important announcement may be the open sourcing of the Swift programming language (improvements may be faster through the open source community) though we do not expect any immediate benefits to Apple. Largely expected announcements were the new music service (Apple Music, coming to Android as well), split screen functionality on the iPad, a UK launch/merchant additions/Discover addition of Apple Pay, incremental enhancements to the iPhone (iOS 9) and Mac operating systems and native application support for Apple Watch. The split screen functionality could have some use in the enterprise and perhaps fuel the fire with regard to a larger screen iPad (though demand would still remain a question).” Market perform. Valuation range: $125 to $135.
Keith Bachman, BMO: Leading from the front, mostly. “WWDC offered a glimpse into Apple’s future product and services. Features for new OSX and iOS are incremental rather than game breaking (not major releases), but we think they keep Apple in a leadership position. We are surprised that Apple is offering a new release of watchOS so early, but we think the ability to run native applications will improve the user experience… Broadly speaking, we think Apple needed to offer a subscription music service, and the company is providing a compelling services portfolio. Further we think Apple will benefit from a large client installed base and brand name. With that said, we don’t think Apple is offering completely innovative services, aside from Connect.” Outperform. Price target: $145.
Katy Huberty, Morgan Stanley: Developer Conference Highlights Platform Monetization. “Apple skipped the customary run-down of metrics at the start of today’s event, communicating just that ‘everything is going great’. That said, several helpful data points emerged during the presentations: 1) Jimmy Iovine referenced a nearly 1 billion user base which compares to a reported 800M in April 2014 and 500M in January 2013. 2) Pay is now available in 1M locations, up from 700K on March 9th, implying a consistent run-rate of new locations compared to the six months after Pay was announced. 3) Apple recently hit 100B app downloads with $30B in payments, implying a consistent app download run-rate but with accelerating monetization (e.g. users spending more per app).” Overweight. $166.
Aaron Rakers, Stifel: No Show on Apple TV Update (Fall?). “The lack of any Apple TV related announcements is likely to be the most notable takeaway (now a focus for later this year?). The key announcements at WWDC include: 1.) iOS 9 and OS X (El Capitan) operating systems as well as watchOS 2.0, which will each become generally available in Fall 2015. The company did introduce much needed multi-tasking functionality for iPad; only compatible with more recent generation iPads. 2.) Apple Pay will expand to the U.K. next month, with support for over 250,000 retail locations and 8 banks. Apple Pay will be accepted at over 1 million U.S. locations next month (+4x vs. its fall 2014 launch). 3.) As widely anticipated, Apple announced a new streaming music service, branded Apple Music, which includes a new 24/7 Beats 1 radio station that will be available later this month in 100 countries. 4.) Apple noted that over 100 billion apps have been downloaded cumulatively, citing that 850 apps are downloaded every second.” Buy. $150.
Daniel Ives, FBR: Streaming Music Front and Center. “While there were no major surprises at today’s keynote, we would characterize the event so far with a major focus on software/services and, thus, helping lay the groundwork for Apple’s next leg of growth on the software frontier, Watch, and Apple Pay product categories. The overall focus so far (conference runs from June 8 to June 12) has been centered around the much anticipated streaming music product launch, iOS updates (IOS 9), a new OS X dubbed El Capitan, Apple Pay enhancements (e.g., incentives for retailers, launching in more countries), and a major focus around app development for the Watch, which we believe will be a key growth driver for this key product category over the coming years.” Outperform. $185.
William Powers, Baird. Strong updates for customers and developers, though no major surprises. “In line with reports leading up to the event, Apple introduced Apple Music, a new streaming music service, announced native apps for Apple Watch, and unveiled new versions of iOS and OS X. We view Apple Music as additive to the overall Apple ecosystem and believe that the software refinements should help improve the overall customer experience.” Outperform. $155.
So far, nobody has changed their rating or their price target.