Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is set to host its annual WWDC developer conference San Francisco this week. Top analysts share their insights on what they expect from the conference and what it means for the company going forward.
At the WWDC conference, Apple is expected to provide various hardware and software updates which historically triggers a small rebound in the stock, down 23% y/y due to disappointing Q1 earnings and macroeconomic challenges. Updates at the conference should shed more light on the company’s long term strategy prior to its iPhone 7 launch in September. According to TipRanks, out of all the analysts who have rated the company in the last 3 months, 84% gave a Buy rating, 3% gave a Sell rating, and 13% remain on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $125.16, marking a 27% upside from where shares last closed.
Investors and analysts alike are anticipating announcements regarding Apple’s personal talk-activated assistant, Siri. Many believe the company will open Siri to third-party developers, allowing customers to use Siri with other applications such as Uber and flight bookings. The company faces stiff competition from the likes of Amazon through its talk assistant Alexa, which already offers the third party feature, as well as messenger bots from both Facebook and Google. With major players taking away Apple’s market share in the personal assistant category, the company knows it must act fast to optimize Siri or risk losing hardware sales. As such, Apple is expected to release a software development kit for Siri .The company is also expected to make Siri available for Mac.
Other expected conference highlights include updates to all of the company’s software, including iOS, as well as apps Apple Music and Apple Pay. While unclear, many also anticipate hardware updates to the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. These expected changes come shortly after the announced revenue restructuring of the App store, which will promote more subscription based memberships as well as take a smaller share of revenues from existing longtime subscribers.
On June 9, Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha weighed in on the company regarding last week’s revenue restructuring announcement, reiterating an Outperform rating and $150 price target. The analyst believes this will ultimately result in gains for the tech giant, as a decreased commission to Apple will allow the company to keep loyal apps from switching to Android. He states, “We believe that the shift to a subscription-based model should result in a stronger sustainable recurring revenue stream from the App Store which we note is highly GM accretive at ~87% at the net level and should accelerate growth going forward.” Garcha has a 55% success rate recommending stocks with a 7.5% average return per recommendation.
5-Star analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray also weighed in on the company, providing his expectations for the conference. The analyst reiterated an Overweight rating and $153 price target on June 9, 2016. The analyst believes the company will release various software updates, mainly focusing on the optimization of Siri. He states, “The opening keynote typically focuses on software updates, particularly iOS, and we expect this year’s focus to be the same. We believe the main news out of this years WWDC will be around opening up Siri for deeper voice control in iOS and updates to Apple Pay (either at WWDC or in the fall) with more incremental updates to iOS, OS X, WatchOS, and tvOS.” He continues, “Overall, we view WWDC as a warm up to more meaningful announcements in the fall including iPhone 7 and an updated Apple Watch.” Munster has a 62% success rate recommending stocks with a 17.8% average return per recommendation.
Analyst Andy Hargreaves of Pacific Crest also provided his expectations regarding the conference. On June 10, 2016, he reiterated an Overweight rating on the company with a $123 price target. Although the analyst believes the expected updates will result in increased revenues, he does not predict any long term gains. He explains, “In addition to the significant changes to the App Store announced this week, we expect Apple to detail updates to Siri and Apple Pay. We do not expect any of the announcements to change our view of earnings potential over the next 15 months, but believe the new offerings could provide incremental revenue sources and enhance the Apple ecosystem. We do not expect any significant new hardware to be announced.” Hargreaves has a 53% success rate recommending stocks with an average return of 20.2% per recommendation.