Sarah Roden

About the Author Sarah Roden

Sarah writes about stock market news for TipRanks. She graduated as member of Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia.

Piper Jaffray Sets Expectations Ahead of the Apple Inc. (AAPL) WWDC

Analysts and investors are gearing up for the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, from June 8-12 in San Francisco. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster weighed in ahead of the conference, maintaining an Overweight rating on Apple with a $162 price target. The stock last closed at nearly $130.

Munster expects the WWDC to focus on “the next version of iOS and a new Apple TV.” Munster speculates that the new iOS 9 could include “split screen iOS apps [and] mass transit directions in Maps.” However, recent rumors report that the mass transit feature will only be available in six cities worldwide, with only New York and San Francisco making the cut for the United States. Aside from Maps update, Munster expects Apple to reveal an app for connected home devices.  Apple has been developing its HomeKit framework on iOS 8 to connect and control accessories within the house. HomeKit allows users to remotely control garage doors, thermostats, and door locks from an iPhone.

Aside from the iPhone, Munster notes that the Apple TV has not been “meaningfully updated since early 2012,” thus making it overdue for an update. The analyst anticipates a preview of the new Apple TV at WWDC with a launch of the new product in the fall. Munster expects the new Apple TV to incorporate Siri and HomeKit. He continued, “Highlighted features could include controlling a connected home, content channels, and getting answers via Siri.” Munster also expects the new Apple TV to host a live streaming content service for major networks.

Gene Munster also shed some light on the relationship between Google and Safari, Apple’s search engine. Google is the default search engine on Safari but that contract is due to expire this year, resulting in speculation if Google will remain the default search engine. While Munster believes that since “Apple prides itself in offering the best user experience possible in its products,” Apple could set aside its differences with Google to renew the contract since “Google is the best search engine.” However, Munster notes “there is an 80% chance that Apple will replace Google with Yahoo! or Bing as the default in Safari” since Apple already uses Bing in Siri.

Looking forward, Munster expects Apple to launch the iPhone 6S in September and the new iPad in October.

Gene Munster has rated Apple 140 times since January 2009, earning an 81% success rate recommending the stock with a +31.7% average return per rating. Overall, Munster has a 70% success rate recommending stocks with a +27% average return per rating.

On average, the top analyst consensus for AAPL on TipRanks is Moderate Buy.

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