It also unveiled a new smart home speaker, called the HomePod Mini, and some accessories for the new iPhones that allow users to wirelessly charge their phones.
Six experts break down how they view the new products and what it may mean for Apple’s stock performance going forward.
Jim Suva, senior tech analyst at Citi, is bullish on Apple’s readiness to prepare for the holiday shopping season.
“If we look at year to date, the stock has done extremely well. In fact, it has outperformed the Nasdaq, the S&P 500, the broader markets, it has rallied. … Simply put, Apple during this pandemic is generating a tremendous amount of cash flow. They’re inventing, they’re coming out with new products and … they’re hiring. A lot of industries are laying off people and doing furloughs and reductions of … hours of workers, we’re actually seeing that Apple is hiring. That means they’re coming out of the pandemic stronger and importantly, the products that you’re showing that Apple announced are going to be ready and on the shelves and available in large quantities for the holiday shopping season and that’s very important.”
Joanna Stern, personal technology columnist at The Wall Street Journal, said Apple is making a bet on 5G adoption and expansion.
“What is the benefit for normal consumers? Where are they going to feel the faster speeds? And regardless of if everything works perfectly, right, we’ve got good hardware, good network and you can get 5G all the time, what do you use the faster speeds for on your phone? Where is the answer to that question is the big thing. [CEO Tim] Cook did point out downloads. Certainly downloading video, downloading music, that’s going to be faster. They also did a lot of gaming demos where you can see things instantly rendering and talking about how this would be faster than your home Wi-Fi. That’s another good thing for some consumers, certainly, but the killer app, which is what this is all about, we don’t know yet and this is why Apple is betting and that’s why … the carriers need Apple to bet because it’s all about the new era.”
Tim Long, senior research analyst at Barclays, raised a number of questions around Apple’s new 5G technology.
“We’ve been a little bit more skeptical on the iPhone side for the last few years here. It’s been a time since they’ve had a real hit. Remember that the 10 was supposed to be a supercycle as well. We didn’t really see it so we’ve seen a lot of changes as far as customers’ willingness to pay really since that iPhone 10 so there’s been a lot more mixing down and of course now really the new feature here is 5G. … When we have a new technology, we struggle with – is it worth the cost? Are there applications? What’s it going to do with my battery? What will the coverage look like?”
Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s ‘Mad Money,’ explained weakness in the share price after Tuesday’s event.
“I think the phone is a surprise. I think that the fact the stock was down was because it was up 6% the day before [on Monday] which is stupid. That’s those people. … They’re like, ‘Oh, there is a big unveiling. I’ll buy the stock beforehand and then I will profit.'”
Nilay Patel, editor in chief of The Verge, is skeptical about the uses of 5G.
“In the middle of Apple’s pitch for 5G, they announced a feature called Smart Data Mode … the thing that Smart Data Mode does for you is it turns 5G off to save battery life. So not only is the network not ready, the hardware, because the networks are new and the modems are new, is going to drain your battery life if you overuse 5G. So the phone itself unless you’re doing something that demands a lot of speed is going to turn 5G off almost most of the time. I did not see a single compelling use case for 5G in that entire presentation, other than the speed test app.”
Krish Sankar, senior research analyst at Cowen, said 5G could give a boost to this upgrade cycle.
“I would say in terms of the overall event a lot of the specs are largely in line with what the supply chain had been telegraphing for a long time. I thought the price point was very attractive although there was some speculation of the pricing late last week, so largely overall I’d say in-line event. … We did a survey where we found a lot of respondents will be willing to upgrade their smartphones because of 5G. We just think that actually this 5G could be a longer, stronger cycle. I don’t think this is going to be a huge bump right away but if you take a two-, three-year view, I think this could be a longer duration cycle because of the move to 5G, only it might be a little slow.”