What’s on the Menu for Apple’s Spring Product Launch

Next week, Apple (AAPL) will report March quarter earnings. However, that event will be preceded by another high-profile affair. On Tuesday, Apple will host its spring product launch, and will announce refreshments for some of its product line-up.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives thinks the announcements could include some new color versions for the latest iMac, a new Apple Pencil, and “finally,” a launch for Apple’s Bluetooth tracking device – called AirTags. However, the main course will be reserved for the refreshing of the iPad line-up – the iPad Pro, iPad mini, and the budget iPad.

Big changes are expected for the iPad Pro line up, which should get a super-fast updated A14X chip. The higher end 12.9-inch is also anticipated to boast a mini-LED display which will be a “game changer around color performance, dimming capabilities, and high contrast capabilities for the consumer.”

iPads have staged a comeback during the pandemic, as demand has soared in the WFH environment. Over the past several quarters, the iPad has displayed more than 40% year-over-year growth as employees and students upgraded their models.

“We estimate only ~40% of iPad users have gone through a refresh the last year with some clear pent-up demand that these new iPads will unleash in the next few quarters thus giving Apple another product tailwind,” the 5-star analyst opined.

Looking at the bigger picture, Ives thinks Apple is in the “middle innings of its biggest product cycle year ever.” The highlight will once again be the launch of its flagship product – the fall unveiling of the iPhone 13.

iPhone 13 builds have reached roughly 100 million units, representing a “25% increase YoY out of the gates,” compared to the initial pre-COVID builds of 80 million iPhone 12 units, according to Ives’ Asia supply chain build checks.

“While this number will clearly move around over the coming months,” the 5-star analyst concluded, “We believe this speaks to an increased confidence with Cook & Co. that this 5G driven product cycle will extend well into 2022 and should also benefit from a post vaccine consumer ‘reopening environment.’”

All in all, Ives rates Apple shares an Outperform (i.e. Buy), backed by a $175 price target. The implication for investors? Upside of 31%. (To watch Ives’ track record, click here)

Wall Street’s average price target is a more modest $153.65, which still implies 12-month gains of 14%. Overall, most analysts remain firmly in the tech giant’s corner. Apple stock has a Strong Buy consensus rating, based on 20 Buys, 4 Holds and 1 Sell. (See Apple stock analysis on TipRanks)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.