Why WWDC 2017 Is Significant for Apple Stock
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock has come a long way since the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2016) event held in San Francisco last June.
Apple WWDC 2017 (June 5–9) is especially significant for AAPL stock, as investors are contemplating how Apple Inc. may transform itself into more of a services company to maintain its position as the most valuable company in the world. Apple stock made another record closing at $135.72 last Friday and is up more than 17% year-to-date.
Expectations from Apple WWDC 2017
The major focus of Apple WWDC 2017 will be on software, although a surprise hardware announcement could also come up during the event. Apple generally announces major updates in its operating systems as well as early developments in new apps at its WWDC events, as was the case at WWDC 2016.
Any new announcement on the “iPhone 8” is bound to boost Apple stock, given the high expectations surrounding the next generation smartphone.
Apple Inc. is expected to announce the new versions of “iOS,” “watchOS,” and “tvOS,” as well as “macOS” at WWSC 2017.
The big release at WWDC 2016 on June 13, 2016 in San Francisco was “iOS 10,” which had some great features in “Messages” and an all-new design for “Maps,” “Photos,” and “Apple Music.”
Apple WWDC 2017 is especially significant, as the smartphone maker has embarked on a journey to transform itself into a services powerhouse, given the decline in its iPhone sales. The event will showcase how the company is focused on its software and services to lead the changing technology landscape. Apple stock is likely to benefit from this move as this would further strengthen the Apple ecosystem with more than a billion devices being actively used around the world.
WWDC 2017: Enhanced Features for Social Media
This year could see enhanced features or new apps in Apple mobile devices for video sharing in order to improve engagement with young people. The immense popularity of apps like “Instagram” and “Snapchat” is a signal that Apple will not let go of this lucrative opportunity to capture this growing “camera first” market.
A Bloomberg report last year suggested that Apple was developing a video sharing and editing application, and was testing new features for its iPhone and “iPad” operating systems. The plan was to release this app in 2017. WWDC 2017 should add more clarity on how Apple wants to go ahead with this strategy. (Source: “Apple Weighs iPhone Video Editing App in Renewed Push on Social,” Bloomberg, August 25, 2016.)
WWDC 2017: Focus on Augmented Reality
Apple Inc. is staying focused on its augmented reality (AR) plans, with the current “iPhone 7 Plus” already equipped to handle AR features. The future iPhones are likely to boast superior camera technology.
Reports have come in that Apple Inc. has acquired Israeli company RealFace, which is into machine learning and specializes in facial recognition technology. As per recent rumors, the future iPhone models could come equipped with a face scanning feature that could also be used as an AR application at a later stage. (Source: “Apple reportedly snaps up Israeli facial recognition company RealFace for $2 million,” Apple Insider, February 19, 2017.)
This further lends support to the theory that AAPL stock has more steam left as more and more users become involved with the Apple ecosystem in new and exciting ways. The company’s AR-capable iPhones would generate lots of opportunities for developers, as well as for Apple Inc.
WWDC 2017: Next-Generation iPhone X
There is a remote possibility that the company may provide a sneak peek into its next-generation iPhone, which could be introduced as the iPhone 8 or the “iPhone 10.” This is for the simple reason that the new smartphone is likely to sport new features and technology that may need a lot of help from the developer community.
The new-generation iPhone is likely to be the medium for Apple’s services business push. The company has been adding AR features in its camera app, and the latest—as well as future—iPhones, are expected to be popular on the growing trend in AR technology. This could be a big catalyst for AAPL stock.
Warren Buffett’s Likely Bet on Apple Services
Even Warren Buffett seems to be betting big on the services business of Apple Inc., which could help boost further the company’s cash pile. His holding company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B), recently filed Form 13-F with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The filing shows that Berkshire Hathaway had over 57 million shares of Apple Inc. as of December 31, 2016. This is a substantial increase from about 15 million Apple shares that the company held at the end of September 2016. (Source: “Form 13-F,” U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, last accessed February 21, 2017.)
This is a big move, as Warren Buffett does not seem to be particularly interested in technology stocks. This could indicate that even he acknowledges the cash-generating potential of Apple’s growing services business, which is less susceptible to volatility as compared to a typical consumer technology business.
Apple stock has been hitting record highs this year, and Warren Buffett’s interest in the stock indicates that he considered the shares to be undervalued. The following Apple stock chart proves the astounding run of AAPL stock over the past year after hitting lows of around $90.00.
Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com
With Donald Trump’s favorable tax policy announcements likely to benefit the company in the future, Apple stock is unlikely to disappoint its investors.
Apple WWDC 2017 Updates and Apple Stock
Apple Inc.’s WWDC 2017 is going to be a highly exciting event, not only because it will lend more clarity on the future direction of the company’s services business, but because it will provide some clues on the upcoming iPhone 8.
As developers gather in San Jose from around the world to learn more about the future of Apple products, AAPL stock investors will be focused on what exciting products and services the company announces to continue its dominance in the consumer technology space. WWDC 2017 is likely to be more significant than WWDC 2016, as it could signal a major strategy shift from Apple Inc., which could take Apple stock to new highs.