Another key question to ask is whether Apple will diminish its brand approach by offering a cheaper phone. But when we look at a combined cocktail of China Mobile (a 1.5 billion Chinese population with up to 700 million Internet users) and a reasonably priced iPhone (prices at $100-$200), a gargantuan consumer proposition is created.
The combination of these two players could potentially create the single biggest launch in consumer-electronics history in terms of pickup and adoption. These announcements could come as early as September (with shipments in October).
New Innovations at Apple
When considering a cheaper iPhone, it might be said that this does not reset the bar and move innovation forward at Apple. Instead, we will have to look ahead to the next product that truly disrupts the technology space (such as a new watch or eyeglasses products). There is still a possibility that Apple will unveil its TV this year, a product that has clearly been in the works for some time. Timing will again be critical here but the expansion into new areas of the household will surely re-energize interest in Apple as a product.
Other areas to watch surely can be seen with the much-discussed iWatch, which is more likely to be seen next year. If we take a step back and look at the big picture, the past six months have shown critical weakness for Apple, but when we look ahead to the next phases for the company, this weakness should only be viewed as a long-term buying opportunity for those looking to capitalize on the next wave of productivity.
Five-Year Time Horizon
In recent months, we have seen Apple stock prices move in line with the long-term trends, but the main question to ask is whether Apple will be able to recapture the market hysteria seen in 2011.
If we look at a five-year time horizon, there will surely be ups and downs in the stock price. But when we remember that consumer technology is a relatively new market (with roughly a 30-year lifespan), it should be noted that consumers are only beginning to spend money on technology.
Over the next two to five years, the first main event will be what happens in the low-end phone market. Beyond that, new wearable technologies (watches, glasses) will likely cannibalize the phone market, and all of this favors Apple investors buying on weakness and maintaining positions for a five-year time horizon.
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At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.