Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock has not been performing well in recent weeks, and the pressure is getting to some analysts. Some analysts refuse to have their spirits dampened, however. Piper Jaffray's managing director, Gene Munster maintained a "buy" rating on Apple, and placed a price target of $910 on it in his most recent report.
The report lays out a speculative product release schedule for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and commented on the company's most recent management changes. The article also compares the fortunes of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) with those of Apple on Black Friday. Microsoft has recently come into direct competition with Apple in the tablet market, with the release of its Surface.
According to Munster, footfall in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stores was 47% higher in Apple stores than it was in stores owned by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). On average the Apple stores sold 17.2 items per hour, while the Microsoft stores sold just 3.5. The report also suggests that most of the products purchased in Microsoft stores were Xbox games.
The release schedule provided by Munster outlines key dates for the introduction of product updates, and gives estimates on the introduction dates of new products. According to the analyst, next March will see the introduction of an iPad mini with a Retina display, alongside an internet Radio service, similar to the one offered by Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P).
Rumors surrounding an Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) branded Internet music streaming service have been gaining steam recently. It is possible the firm does not want to fall behind in music streaming, as it has in Video streaming.
In June features of iOS 7 will be announced. Munster says that the addition of user interface design to Jonathon Ive's list of responsibilities will begin to show at this stage. Problems in the company's mapping service will be resolved in iOS 7 and commercial integration with services like those offered by Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) will be added, according to Piper Jaffray.
June will also see the introduction of a Macbook Air with Retina display according to the report. The engineering difficulties of creating a Retina display Macbook Pro at 13 inches caused it to get released months after its 13 inch counterpart. If Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) can pull off a 13 inch Macbook Air with the same resolution, it will be impressive. If they are able to offer an 11 inch with a Retina display by next June it should be hailed as a marvel of modern engineering.
The report says that an iPhone 5s will be released in September, alongside a 5th generation iPad. Both will come with faster processors and better cameras, while the new iPhone is likely to take advantage of Near Field Communication technology in order to make use of the Passbook payments service.
For those familiar with Munster's reports on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) it should be obvious what he expects to be released in November of next year. The analyst expects a full Apple TV set to be launched. The device will have a new interface, an improved remote control and may invoke exclusive Apple content deals.
As Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has streamlined its own business, another related industry has become more and more effective, the Apple rumor mill. Before the iPhone 5 came out everybody keeping up with the latest rumors knew what was going to be in the device. A case had been unveiled on YouTube months earlier.
The point is, if an Apple Television is going to be released next year, it will be well known about when the Summer comes around. At that stage, parts should already have surfaced.
Alongside his release schedule for the company's 2013, Munster offers some insight into his view of the company's longer term future. His view includes a cheaper iPhone model geared toward the Chinese market and competition with Android smart phones. The company may also be forced to shorten the iPhone upgrade period in order to take advantages of a shortening consumer upgrade cycle.
In general, Munster does not see Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) slowing down any time soon. Despite complaints that the company has not produced a truly new product in years, he believes innovation is ahead. Something the company creates in the next few years will cannibalize iPhone sales in the coming decade, making that product as alien to us as an iPod might be to a child growing up today.
Time will tell, but it is certain that Gene Munster's optimism about the world's largest company will not be dampened any time soon. the analyst has been a fervent advocate of the company's fortunes for years, 2013 might even be the year when his idolized Apple Television comes into public existence.