Features and Beneficiaries
Now that Apple has introduced Long Term Evolution (LTE) into its product line-ups, we can expect that to be the case going forward until a standard emerges.
The big new feature people are expecting from the iPhone 5S is fingerprint technology, or biometrics, allowing users to unlock their phones with their fingerprints, instead of entering a password. The fingerprint scanning may also play a heavy part in Apple's move towards mobile payments, something that's been speculated on since Apple announced Passbook as part of iOS 6 last year.
There's always speculation that Apple will do something with payments processing, especially as it looks to build up its software and services revenue. On Apple's fiscal second-quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook answered Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster's question, saying the payments space is just getting started. "I think it's in its infancy, Gene," Cook said on the call. "I think it's just getting started and just out of the starting block."Capital Advisors Growth Fund (CIAOX) portfolio manager Channing Smith believes that Apple needs to do something innovative, such as having Near-Field Communication (NFC) functionality, finger print authentication or something else to get investor enthusiasm back. "The company is at a critical juncture and this product cycle will be an important driver as to the direction of the stock price into year-end," Smith said in an email to TheStreet. "While it is natural for innovation to slow the further you move into a technology cycle, we still believe the odds are high Apple will surprise the market with the unforeseen innovation that we have come to know and expect with product introductions over the last decade." Apple acquired AuthenTec, a maker of fingerprint technology in 2012, and since then rumors have swirled that this will be included in the latest iPhone release. Nomura analyst Stuart Jeffrey, who rates Apple shares "neutral" with a $420 price target, believes the fingerprint authentication will be a boon for iPhone buyers. "We expect the iPhone 5S to be a compelling upgrade for 4S users, in a way the 5 was for 4 users, i.e reasonably compelling but not comparable to the 4 or 4S in prior years," Jeffrey wrote in a research note. In addition to the fingerprint technology, the iPhone 5S will likely have a larger and better camera, which could help Sony (SNE), as it's supplied the 8 MP back camera for the iPhone 5, and Omnivision Technologies (OVTI), which makes the iSightHD front camera. Qualcomm (QCOM - Get Report) may benefit, should Apple decide to use Qualcomm's new global chip to help cut down on costs and truly be a global iPhone. In February, Qualcomm released the RF360, which supports all networks around the world. The RF360 supports the following networks: LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA and GSM/EDGE, which would allow Apple to make a "global iPhone," which supports LTE connectivity. If Apple does use the RF360, the long-awaited deal with China Mobile (CHL), the world's largest carrier with over 700 million subscribers, could happen sooner than previously thought. Cook recently visited with China Mobile for the second time this year to discuss "matters of cooperation," further adding fuel to the fire.