Apple Targets Screen Size Ahead Of iPhone 5
Maxwell is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
Amidst the recent airwaves takeover by Facebook, don't forget about the reigning tech superstar with a proven track record of next big things - Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). It is about that time again when Apple notoriously takes weeks worth of negativity and smacks it back over the fence with a confident smirk accompanying the next game changer.
The rumored Apple television set is still the insiders' favorite to break out of the pack, but recent news puts a bigger iPhone in the immediate line of fire. While Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) phones continue to capture fans, new sources have confirmed that Apple is placing orders to suppliers for screens bigger than the standard 3.5-inch size on the market. Three people with supposed knowledge of Apple's plans to overhaul the venerable iPhone have reported that the company has recently placed orders from suppliers in Asia for screens that are most certainly bigger than the current standard.
Bloomberg reports that Steve Jobs was intimately involved in the design work for the larger-screened, next-generation iPhone, scheduled for release later this year. As expected, Apple has been working on the new device upgrade since before the current iPhone 4S model was introduced last October. More than one anonymous insider has stepped forward lately, reiterating claims that Steve Jobs played a key role in developing the next iPhone in the product pipeline.
As consumers continue to evolve their mobile phone-based lifestyle, the leading electronic makers, like Samsung, are pumping up the once tiny phone displays to fill a gap just below more hefty tablets. Samsung has regained the lead in smartphones over the first quarter with a product portfolio leveraging multiple screen sizes. The company shipped 42.2 million smartphones in the first quarter, while Apple shipped 35.1 million iPhones. Obviously, this does not sit well with the Apple brass.
Since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, it has been Apple's top selling product. In search of a next generation bump, Apple has reportedly approached several screen makers including LG Display, Sharp, and Japan Display, to quickly add a bigger screen to its arsenal.
Shares of Apple have been showing some profit taking over the last few weeks, losing roughly $80, or about 13%. Despite this rough patch, Apple fundamentals are still extremely strong, especially when compared to much riskier, social, technology fare like Facebook (NASDAQ: FB). While the Facebook IPO closed its first day of trading with barely a whimper - investors should remember that Apple is usually one of the first stocks to lead a sideways market back up, and we are definitely in a sideways market at the moment.
Beyond some larger iPhone displays reportedly in production, Apple is also busy revamping its MacBook laptop line. Apple last redesigned the body of the MacBook Pro in 2008, and five years might as well be a decade in Internet time. Rumors are running fast and wild in the laptop space, as Apple hopes to continue grabbing market share from once dominant PC makers like Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and Dell (NASDAQ: DELL).
The most recent speculation is that Apple will be unveiling the new MacBook Pro machines at its annual developers conference starting June 11. Insiders have gone on to say that these new MacBook Pro laptops will feature high-definition screens just like the retina-pleasing displays of the current iPhone and iPads on the market. None of these plans are officially public yet and sources close to the action have asked not to be identified.
Apple's Mac computer sales continue to grow faster than the personal-computer market at large. It's easy to make the assumption that overall Apple sales continue to benefit greatly from the worldwide popularity of its mobile devices. Since 2007, when the iPhone was introduced, Apple's Mac sales have more than doubled, reaching $21.8 billion last year. Apple is finally being viewed as a viable threat in the PC space and the old guard is defiantly at attention. The trio of Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Samsung, have all glommed onto Apple's coat tails, with each company readying new, thin, aluminum laptops that might as well have a glowing fruit on the outer case.
Placing new bets on Apple's dips and future hits is the investment firm, Third Point's, notorious leader, Dan Loeb. After successfully removing Yahoo's dishonest CEO, the fire starter recently added 362,000 shares of Apple to the company's growing portfolio. Like many other leading analysts, Loeb believes that Apple's future is dependent on growth in China, although this growth has not yet been built into Apple's current share price. As many other Apple shareholders will attest - one of the sexiest aspects of the innovation maker at the moment is its cash hoard of close to $100 billion. Throw all the amazing products and future prospects out the window, and Apple still has more cash on hand than Microsoft (MSFT), Google, Facebook and Nokia (NOK) combined.
As an investor in Apple, keeping up with real, tangible news and public information is just as important as staying abreast of the latest rumors. With questions still lingering about how big the new iPhone will be or how thin the new MacBook Pro laptop will be - we can all rest easy if we remember some simple facts. Apple retail stores continue to be packed to near capacity from coast to coast and new retail stores continue to open around the world. The new technology race is a game of exponential growth, community and accessibility. Apple has shown us all that they understand this race better than anyone else…regardless of screen sizes.
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