updated 10:05 am EDT, Tue June 9, 2009
Analysts on WWDC keynote
Major financial analysts have taken a generally positive view of Apple's WWDC keynote. Kaufman's Shaw Wu observes that it was unexpected for Steve Jobs to make no appearance whatsoever, despite being on medical leave until the end of the month. The CEO has typically made every major Apple announcement since returning in the late '90s; WWDC 2009 may signify that "the management transition is complete," according to Wu, meaning that Jobs' philosophy has been burned into his fellow executives. Kaufman has correspondingly raised its price target for Apple stock from $160 to $176.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster notes that Apple's new prices -- in terms of Snow Leopard, the iPhone 3G and MacBook Pro -- are unusually aggressive, and should help to spur sales. Third-quarter Mac shipments are forecast to be 2.2 million, and may be followed by another 2.4 million in the fourth quarter. The $29 upgrade price for Snow Leopard could theoretically affect profits, but Munster comments that whereas Leopard had a potential user base of 23 million on launch, Snow Leopard will have as much as 75 million or more. Such a figure may be a distortion based on combined Mac OS and iPhone OS numbers.
UBS' Maynard Um notes that the $99 and $149 versions of the iPhone 3G should help stimulate some demand, but are ultimately limited by high (and unchanged) data plan costs. Apple appears to be betting, adds Needham's Charlie Wolf, that iPhone 3.0 and its corresponding applications should continue to drive expansion into the smartphone market. Needham and UBS estimates remain unchanged.