An audience of 7,000 people stood and cheered for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook. They were there to see the latest and greatest products from the most popular technology company.
Apple is the most valuable company in the world, and its stock is widely owned. Since the stock is owned by many popular ETFs, it’s reasonable to think that nearly every investor owns shares of Apple (directly or indirectly). I know in my investment portfolio, Apple stock is a top holding.
So I was keeping a close eye on Wednesday’s Apple launch event. Here are the highlights, and what it means for Apple stock.
Apple iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
At Wednesday’ event, Apple unveiled the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Both phones will be available starting Sept. 25.
Major upgrades for the new phones include a larger 12-megapixel camera and a much faster processor. Another cool feature is called 3D Touch. It allows users to press harder on the screen to activate hidden features.
With a contract from a cellular provider, the Apple iPhone 6s will start at $199 and the iPhone 6s Plus at $299. Those prices reflect the smallest model with just 16 GB of storage. Without a cellular contract, the phones cost $649 and $749.
Perhaps the biggest news is that Apple will start financing the sale of its phones. In the past, most consumers have bought an iPhone with a contract from AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon Wireless. Those carriers essentially charge customers a higher monthly fee, in exchange for giving them a discount on a new phone every couple years.
Starting with these new iPhones, Apple will offer its phones directly to customers for a monthly fee. For example, Apple is now offering the iPhone 6s for $32.41 per month. Plus, customers can get a new phone every year.
Like many of its initiatives – including retail stores, the App Store and iTunes – this step allows the company to take greater control of its relationship with customers. And it allows customers greater flexibility to switch carriers and move to the lowest cost provider.
This is likely good news for Apple and bad news for cellular carriers, which typically allow customers a free phone upgrade every two years. Now Apple will allow them to upgrade once per year.
By allowing customers to directly buy and finance iPhones, Apple may be able to increase the frequency with which customers upgrade their phones. That should help boost Apple sales in the future.
Citizens Bank has partnered up with Apple to finance the iPhone sales. This means that Apple won’t be taking on the financial risks related to these loans. That’s a real positive for Apple shareholders.
Apple iPad Pro
The Apple iPad also got a nice upgrade, with a 12.9-inch screen. Called the iPad Pro, the device comes with a faster chip and improved battery life. The price of the new iPad ranges from $799-$1,079.
With a larger screen, consumers may view the new iPad Pro as a replacement for a laptop. Also worth noting is that Apple will sell a new Apple Pencil for $99. The pencil can be used to write directly on the screen.
The Apple TV has gotten a big upgrade. It now includes voice search, a touch surface remote control and a special App Store. The Apple TV also has its own operating system, and Apple hopes that it will attract developers to build apps specifically for the Apple TV. It will be available in October and cost $149-$199.
The Apple TV may seem like the smallest news from the event. But it’s important to note that this is yet another way for Apple to expand its relationship with customers.
The company is trying to build on its success in music by getting into the video business. It will be interesting to see whether Apple continues to focus on building its own solutions, or if it will make an acquisition in the content space.
Apple stock has historically risen 5% in the month prior to an iPhone launch. However, with the recent market volatility Apple shares have actually dropped 8% in the last 30 days.
On the day of a launch, Apple stock has typically dropped. The same was true of Wednesday’s Apple launch event, when shares fell 1.9%.
Apple stock is currently down 18% from its all-time high of $134.50. Those losses are roughly double the decline in major U.S. stock indexes. That sell-off is extreme, and overextended.
Despite its large size, Apple is still a great growth story. This year, earnings per share are expected to soar 41% as sales jump 28%. Those are huge growth numbers that are unprecedented from a large company.
This stock also remains a great value today. Apple is expected to earn more than $9 per share in the fiscal year that ends this month. That means this stock is trading at a price-earnings multiple of just 12.
The bottom line is that Apple’s business is growing far faster than the average stock in the S&P 500. Yet Apple trades at a healthy discount to the market.
I don’t know where the stock market is going today, tomorrow or next week. But I know that when you can buy a high-growth stock at a cheap price, you’ll make a healthy profit. That makes Apple stock a top buy recommendation.
This article is brought to you courtesy of Ian Wyatt from Wyatt Investment Research.