Apple Stock Predictions 2018: Is Investing in the Potential Trillion-Dollar Company the Right Move?

Apple Stock
Credit:iStock.com/Daniel Chetroni

AAPL Stock Predictions 2018

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is not only one of the richest companies on earth, it is still—even after all these years—one of the most exciting ones as well. What makes the Apple stock price such an attractive investment for many market players is that the company does not rest on its laurels and is constantly looking to push the envelope. Case in point, the “iPhone 8” launch and the company’s push towards augmented reality technology, both of which could be huge winners for the Apple stock price.

These exciting developments are going to be potentially huge movers for the stock, ones that could push the forecast above $200.00 per share as we look at the AAPL stock predictions 2018.

And I haven’t even mentioned what Apple’s autonomous vehicle software may be able to do for the Apple stock forecast.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the reasons Apple bulls are excited that 2017 and 2018 are going to see big gains for AAPL stock.

Augmented Reality Technology 

Augmented reality technology is being hyped as one of the next massive tech revolutions that takes the world by storm, not unlike the iPhone. And those aren’t my words, those are the words of Apple CEO Tim Cook, who earlier in the year told The Independent that AR could be as transformative as the famous smartphone that took Apple from a great company to one of the greatest in history. (Source: “Apple CEO Tim Cook: As Brexit Hangs Over UK, ‘Times Are Not Really Awful, There’s Some Great Things Happening’,” The Independent, February 10, 2017.)

And there are plenty of reasons to believe that AR has the potential to dominate. Look at the success of Pokémon GO, for instance, which witnessed hundreds of millions of downloads, surpassing 650 million by February. (Source: “Pokémon Go hits 650 million downloads,Polygon, February 27, 2017.)

Tim Cook is betting that AAPL stock can be the beneficiary of this new technology, which is why he’s played his part in not only hyping the tech, but also incorporating it into some of the company’s biggest gadgets.

At the most recent WWDC event in early June, Apple unveiled the “ARKit,” which allows developers to work on apps that use AR for both existing and next-generation iPhones and “iPads.” In fact, the focus on iPhone AR may be what Tim Cook was referring to when he mentioned that AR could be as big as the iPhone.

Also ReadMSFT vs. AAPL Stock: How Microsoft Stock Is Killing Apple’s Mac

After all, if AR does indeed become a big selling point for consumer gadgets in the next few years, then it makes sense that newer generations of iPhones will become must-own products, driving huge sales of Apple smartphones. And, of course, as iPhone sales grow, so too does AAPL stock.

Which take us into the next bit of news coming out of Apple…

AAPL chart

Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com

iPhone 8 Launch 

One of the most anticipated events that will come along this year for Apple will be the release of the 10th anniversary edition of its flagship smartphone, the iPhone 8.

This latest iteration is rumored to be loaded will all sorts of new tech and is being seen as a response to what some have seen as a number of weaker iPhone iterations.

Also ReadApple Stock: The Next 10 Years of Apple iPhone

AAPL stock closely mirrors iPhone sales, so a strong iPhone 8 launch will be critical to an optimistic Apple stock forecast in 2018.

The stock price took a hit recently when the earnings report showed that Apple had had what Tim Cook called a “pause” in iPhone sales. There are a number of factors that played into the sale slowdown, although iPhones sales typically fall in anticipation of a new model. But to complicate matters, iPhone 8 rumors have swirled that the new device will cost $1,000 and that bad press is harming AAPL stock. (Source: “Apple earnings: How long will iPhone sales be on ‘pause’?MarketWatch, July 31, 2017.)

Earnings per share still beat analyst estimates in the most recent financial quarter, but the Apple stock forecast took a hit on the potential damage being done by a slowdown in iPhone sales.

Will iPhone 8 Boost Apple Stock? 

And this lands us on the most important part of the Apple stock predictions 2018: How successful will the iPhone 8 launch be?

If the company falters, then we’ll see another downturn and my projection for the company to cross $200.00 in 2018 will be called into question.

But I believe that the iPhone 8, despite the current negative press about the cost, will likely push the stock higher and beat sales expectations. The cult of iPhone is one with strong dedication, and if the iPhone 8 does indeed plan to deliver on a number of exciting fronts like augmented reality technology, then I could see the phone easily surpassing the sales projections, even if the price might be steep.

iphone sales chart

Data courtesy of Statista

After all, part of the reason that people purchase iPhones generation after generation instead of the cheaper (and sometimes technologically superior) alternatives is that the newest iPhone can be a status symbol, a token of conspicuous consumption. Which is a fancy way to say that price and tech do matter, but sometimes an iPhone can transcend both those factors on name alone.

The Apple Car and Autonomous Vehicle Software

While AR and the iPhone are tied rather closely together, one technological development that Apple has been pouring resources into that may also help tip the Apple stock predictions 2018 further towards the positive side of things is the company’s venture into autonomous vehicle software.

Self-driving cars are a big deal these days, dominating the news whenever a new development occurs in their seemingly inevitable takeover of our roads. Companies across the world are trying to take advantage of what may be the biggest change in transport since the horse-drawn wagon was replaced by the car.

While Tim Cook confirmed that “autonomous systems” are in the works, there is much speculation over what exactly that means. Originally, Apple was indeed working on a full-blown vehicle, looking to build it from the ground up and develop the “Apple car.” But recently, that project has been put to bed as the company has shifted its attention away from the mechanical and refocused its efforts on the code that runs these machines. (Source: “Tim Cook Says Apple Focused on Autonomous Systems in Cars Push,” Bloomberg, June 13, 2017.)

What’s more likely is that the company will want to develop autonomous vehicle software and be one of the companies to be on the forefront of the burgeoning sector.

The second option seems much more plausible—and profitable—to me, as developing its own car would require the company compete with industry leaders like Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), which already has the “hip car market” cornered, much in the same way that Apple has the hip smartphone market firmly under its control.

But that doesn’t mean that the company won’t eventually be ready to manufacture its own vehicles. While ballooning costs and other issues eventually led to the initial project being halted, that does not completely cut off the possibility of an Apple car further down the road.

And all this culminates in what many believe will be a huge AAPL stock play. If the company can repeat the success it had in cultivating the iPhone as a cultural touchstone product but now with autonomous vehicles, then the Apple stock price would shoot up into the stratosphere.

Alternatively, should Apple never enter the physical vehicle market but instead stick with the development of autonomous vehicle software, the company will have to find a way to differentiate itself from other software producers. That likely won’t be difficult for a company that has built its name on the usability and friendliness of its tech products, but that’s still no guarantee.

Should You Buy Apple Stock? 

If you’re not turned off by the slowing iPhone sales and you believe that the iPhone 8 launch will be successful, then the Apple stock predictions 2018 look bright.

If, on the other hand, you see an Apple in decline and no amount of iPhone AR or autonomous vehicle software can turn that tide in a meaningful way, then you’re better off staying away.

I believe that Apple will have a strong 2018 and buildup to its iPhone 8 launch, so investors may want to take note of one of the most successful companies of all time.

Ultimately, Apple is in an enviable position that no other company can claim. It has literally billions of dollars in resources just waiting to be employed in wherever it sees fit, as its famously overstuffed coffers could help power the company no matter which direction it heads in.

Apple is also pushing towards two very impressive and potentially very lucrative markets—AR and autonomous vehicles. If one or both of these ventures can pan out, then the company will be in for a huge payday, and that will be reflected in a growing Apple stock price.