Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s product announcements on Tuesday are the talk of Wall Street today, and analysts are mostly applauding the company’s pricing strategy. The general consensus seems to be that the higher starting price for the iPad Mini is good for margins, while the free software will increase the stickiness of the iOS ecosystem. Apple Insider’s Neil Hughes did a nice roundup of analyst reports after Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s big event.
Analysts praise Apple’s iPad margins
One thing more than one analyst noted was that the $399 starting price for the iPad Mini with Retina display should help Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s margins. The price is $70 higher than the starting price of last year’s iPad Mini. Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Acuri said the higher price tag and the later launch date for the tablet suggests that Apple is indeed facing yield problems with the smaller Retina display, just as has been previously predicted.
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Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore notes that the $399 price tag suggests Apple has chosen margins over volume. However, he thinks that’s fine because he thinks the original iPad Mini was too aggressively priced, which caused a problem for the company’s margins.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said he’s expecting Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to see overall gross margins of 36.7% for the 2014 calendar year. He sees near-term gross margins as being stable in the 36 to 38% range for the December quarter. According to Munster, Apple’s pricing strategy this time around is focused on holding its ground in terms of the pricing for its mobile devices.
Other wins for the new iPads
JPMorgan analyst Mark Moskowitz thinks the better features of the new iPads plus the new price points will help drive an upgrade cycle for Apple’s tablets. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White agrees, calling this year’s upgrades to the iPads “the most significant refresh since the original iPad.” He thinks both the iPad Mini and the iPad Air will drive “a major upgrade cycle” for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and agrees with Acuri in suggesting that the later launch date for the Mini is because of yield issues.
ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall also chimed in, praising the iPad upgrades and expecting a significant upgrade cycle for tablets this year.
Good words for Apple’s free software
More than one analyst also commented on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s decision to offer free upgrades to OS X Maverick and free iWork and iLife with the purchase of new iOS or Mac devices. Acuri predicts that Apple will see more upgrades this time around because of the value offered by these free apps. Whitmore agreed and added that the consistency of how iOS and OS X feel is good for Apple users.
Wells Fargo Securities analyst Maynard Um particularly liked the new collaboration features among Apple’s products.