With Apple stock trading within striking distance of its all-time high, the March 9 event could push the stock to new highs. Could this new product propel Apple’s market cap toward a staggering $1 billion?
If you own Apple stock, you’re probably paying attention to the Apple Watch. Even if you don’t own Apple, you’ll want to tune in. That’s because Apple is widely owned by mutual funds and ETFs. For example, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) has a 3.9% weighting in Apple stock.
Who Cares About the Apple Watch?
After years of speculation, the new product will launch Apple into the wearable technology space. The Apple Watch – expected to cost $350 – will also be the first brand new product line launched under Cook’s leadership.
The last new product line was the iPad, launched in 2010. At the time, Apple founder Steve Jobs still took center stage to promote the company’s latest product.
Even before the official release, there has been lots of criticism of the Apple Watch. Critics ask, “Why would anyone need an Apple Watch? Your phone is always within reach.”
The short answer is convenience. That’s because Apple and mobile developers are creating a brand new product that will integrate into the Apple ecosystem. I won’t speculate on the applications and features today, since we’ll be learning all those details in just four days.
What I do know is this: when Apple launched the iPad, critics made the same argument. They asked, “Why would someone with an iPhone need an iPad?” Their argument sounded good. But the critics were completely wrong.
Yes, the iPad was just an oversized iPhone that couldn’t even make phone calls. But people loved the product. It created a new product category known as tablets. Despite lots of new products from competitors, Apple has sold 246 million iPads since 2010.
It’s time to brush off the critics. I’m betting the Apple Watch will be yet another hit. Just consider Apple’s track record of innovation and creating product categories: MP3 players (iPod), smart phones (iPhone) and tablets (iPad). Looking forward one year, I expect the Apple Watch will have set the standard for wearable technology.
Apple’s Next $23 Billion Product
Last year, wearable tech device sales reached 27 million units, according to Juniper Research. The independent tech research firm expects that number to quadruple in the next three years.
The Apple Watch will be a dominant force in wearable technology. Customers must have an iPhone 5 or 6 to connect to a Watch. The company currently has 400 million existing customers using these devices, creating a sizable market for the Watch.
It seems safe to assume that Apple can achieve a 5% penetration rate this year. That equals 20 million Apple Watches. Some Wall Street analysts are far more optimistic. For example, JP Morgan expects sales to reach 26 million units in 2015 and 55 million units in 2016. Using those estimates, the Apple Watch could generate $23 billion in sales next year, boosting Apple’s sales by 10%.
The Apple Watch is the next big product to boost sales and profits at the world’s most valuable company. For the current fiscal year – ending September 2015 – analysts expect sales to grow 23%. Meanwhile, EPS growth estimates call for a 33% increase. For a company with $183 billion in sales last year, that growth is astounding.
Apple Stock: Buy? Sell? Hold?
Apple stock is currently trading near an all-time high. But the stock is still cheap. Shares closed yesterday at $128.54. That translates into a reasonable P/E multiple of 15. When you consider the $30 of cash on the company’s balance sheet, the stock is considerably cheaper.
I’ve been bullish on Apple for several years. In May 2014, I recommended Apple to my readers. Here is what I wrote back then:
“You can be sure that new products are in the works. Last year, Apple spent an impressive $4.5 billion on research and development. This investment in new products is 3x the amount that was spent on R&D in the year leading up to the iPad launch. And that’s a clear indication that new products are coming soon.
Despite being the most valuable brand with products that are loved by customers, Apple stock has been in the dumps. At $84.62 [split adjusted], the stock trades at just 9x earnings after excluding the company’s $159 billion cash stash.
With Apple shares trading at a 50% discount to the average S&P 500 stock, this stock is extremely attractive. My outlook calls for Apple shares to rise more than 20% over the next year.”
In just 10 months, Apple stock is up 54%. That makes the stock the single best performing stock in the our portfolio.
I’m confident that this stock is heading higher in 2015. Even though Apple shares aren’t the same bargain they were last year, the stock is a decent value. If you don’t own Apple yet, now is still a fine time to buy the stock.
Full Disclosure: Ian Wyatt currently owns shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
This article is brought to you courtesy of Ian Wyatt from Wyatt Investment Research.