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Apple Analyst: Prepare To Be Underwhelmed on Monday

March 20, 2016, 1:32 PM UTC
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook gestures as he unveils the Apple Watch during an Apple event at the Flint Center in Cupertino
Apple Chief Executive (CEO) Tim Cook gestures as he unveils the Apple Watch during an Apple event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California, September 9, 2014. REUTERS/Stephen Lam (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) - RTR45LGF
Photograph by Stephen Lam — Reuters

“We worry investors will find the next several Apple media events underwhelming,” wrote Oppenheimer analyst Andrew Uerkwitz in a note to clients Friday.

“While we expect to see several ‘under the hood’ improvements across devices, we are not expecting the same exuberance as last year when Apple shared final details of the Apple Watch.”

He’s got a point. Tuesday’s San Bernardino court hearing holds more excitement for me than the rumored line-up for Monday’s “in the loop” event: 4-inch iPhone, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, new Watch bands, OS updates.

So Uerkwitz, as if to justify his “outperform” rating on Apple (AAPL), cast his mind beyond Monday’s event and put out a report titled “Looking into Our Crystal Ball.”

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Here’s what he sees coming from Cupertino over the next two years (I quote):

  • Capturing Leadership in Smartphone Cameras: The iPhone cameras best embody Apple’s ability to elevate off-the-shelf components with superior software engineering skills to differentiate themselves from competition. We believe a series of major overhauls are in line for the upcoming iPhones—we see 360 video and depth sensing as the most likely new features.
  • Siri—The Omnipresent AI Assistant Across All Devices: We believe Apple will continue to push wider deployment of Siri. This year, we believe Apple will encourage third-party developers to link with Siri in more meaningful ways, as a counterattack to “OK Google” and Amazon Echo.
  • One More Thing—VR: We believe Apple has been building up to release a mobile VR headset based on potential changes in display technology (OLED), GPU improvement (consistent doubling of performance in recent iterations), and the introduction of more sophisticated sensor fusion, all of which will allow Apple to introduce a VR headset that utilizes current iPhones or iPads.
  • Incremental Improvements: Other non-essential improvements we believe Apple may gradually roll out for its hardware and software are weather proofing, better battery life, lighter and thinner industrial designs, introduction of new materials, and enhancement and expanding partnerships for HomeKit, HealthKit, CarPlay, and Apple Pay
  • Bottom Line: We believe Apple’s broadened device line-up and improving user experience will continue to add leverage to its ecosystem, allowing the company to engage and retain users previously untouched. It does this in small steps—and ultimately enables the company to create the next big thing. We don’t see this model changing—but we do believe it could frustrate investors.


Note that when Uerkwitz looked into his crystal ball, he saw neither a car nor a streaming TV service.