Apple’s Two Most Important Events This Year: WWDC, iPhone Launch

According to a recent report from Barclays, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is not expected to increase the size of the iPhone screen before 2014, but the analysts at the firm believe that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be launching new products in the near future.

Morgan Stanley just like Barclays has the same views, in one of their recent reports the research firm believes, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s June developer conference (WWDC) and the September iPhone launch are the two most important events this year.

Apple's Two Most Important Events This Year: WWDC, iPhone Launch

Apple’s June WWDC

The analysts at the firm expect Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to preview new versions of iOS and OS X at the user conference in June. According to the report, the next iPhone is likely to keep the same hardware form factor as the current iPhone 5 based on Apple’s historical iPhone cycles. Therefore, software and services will determine the success of iPhone 5S, in analysts view. They think a potential surprise could be new Internet-based services, such as streaming music or mobile payments.

From their recent meetings with management, analysts at the firm believe Eddy Cue, Apple’s head of Internet Software and Services, is working hard to improve Apple’s existing Internet-based services, such as iCloud and Maps, and at the same time planning to launch new services.

The research firm believe Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could charge either developers or users for some of these services, which could boost Apple’s annuitized revenue stream and better monetize its large user base. For example, Apple could offer a streaming music service using a freemium model. Users could listen for free with advertisements, or pay monthly or annually to listen without advertisements and with potential access to more features.

Kevin Lynch’s move from CTO of Adobe to Apple is another sign that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could launch new services that leverage its large developer base. Lynch led Adobe’s efforts in subscription-based services and wireless devices.

Apple's Two Most Important Events This Year: WWDC, iPhone Launch

Apple’s September iPhone Launch

After the developer conference, the next catalyst is the next-generation iPhone and lower-priced iPhone launch. Analysts at Morgan Stanley see five potential drivers of a strong iPhone 5S cycle:

1) Similar to iPhone 4, when consumers chose not to upgrade due to antennae issues, Apple maps quality issues impacted iPhone 5 demand creating pent-up demand for the next iPhone.

2) US carriers extended the upgrade cycle to 20 months, which implies iPhone 4S buyers are not eligible to upgrade with a full subsidy before summer 2013.

3) A killer app, like mobile payments, could serve as a demand catalyst similar to Siri driving iPhone 4S sales.

4) New carrier distribution, most likely NTT Docomo in Japan and China Mobile in China, could expand sales. It is possible a China Mobile iPhone launch comes later due to its unique network technology, similar to the delayed Verizon iPhone 4 launch in January 2011.

5) A lower priced iPhone expands Apple’s addressable market in emerging markets. In China alone, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) would serve at least 30% of the market vs. 10% today with an iPhone in the $300-400 range.

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