Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be focusing most of its product launches on the second half of this year, according to Barclays analysts. They also say that although the company wasn’t present at the Consumer Electronics Show last week (as expected), its presence was very real as competitors prep for what the company could have to offer later this year. Unlike other reports we’ve seen, they are pretty positive on Apple after this year’s CES.


Apple competitors target future products

There have been rumors going around for some time that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was planning to release a larger iPad or iPad Pro, which could be sort of a hybrid of a tablet and a laptop. At CES, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930)I revealed a bigger tablet and adopted the “Pro” tag with it. Barclays analyst Ben A. Reitzes and his team said this suggests that Samsung is already planning on this rumor being true and has launched a competing product designed to beat Apple to the punch, so to speak.

Apple needs the IoT market

Reitzes and his team also noted, as have others, the prevalence of smart devices, or “Internet of Things” devices, as they call them, at CES this year. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has yet to have an offering in this area. In terms of the living room, they said there weren’t any real surprises this year. They saw some “incremental innovation” at CES but “nothing overly exciting.” Makers of smart televisions basically just upgraded their TVs.

The Barclays team doesn’t think Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will enter the smart TV business this year. In fact, they said it really isn’t necessary, but they think the company needs a better Apple TV set top box at the very list. However, they think Apple really needs to launch new product categories this year. In addition, they hope that Apple’s strategy for wearable devices doesn’t end up getting delayed. They said they’d be “very disappointed” if the company doesn’t launch the rumored iWatch this year. In fact, they think the recent scrutiny of Apple’s innovation ability would be warranted if there is no iWatch this year.

Apple to have a tough first half

They said during the first half of this year, Apple could have a difficult time as they see potential near term downside in iPhone sales. However, they expect the next product cycle in the second half to be good for Apple, as well as the rumored iPad Pro, which they’ve been expecting to see for months.

All in all, they believe the second half of this year will be filled with new devices from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Android battles Apple in connected cars

The Barclays team also saw progress for Android in the connected car business. They said clearly the operating system is trying to play catch-up to Apple. Last year, Apple reveled that it had deals with nine automakers to put iOS in their cars. At CES last week, it was revealed that Audi, General Motors Company, (NYSE:GM), Hyundai, Honda, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) has created an alliance with the aim of putting Google’s Android operating system into cars. Interestingly enough, they think Apple could benefit from Android going into cars because the operating system could become even more fragmented, which could result in too much complexity.