NEW YORK (TheStreet) - As sales growth of Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) popular iPhone devices begins to slow, and the iPad fails to garner as much consumer appeal, the tech giant's next "leapfrog" event could be something that might not be as sexy, but could keep its revenue engine moving and keep Apple in pole position above the competition.
JPMorgan Chase analyst Mark Moskowitz expects the Cupertino, Calif.-based company to introduce a new category called "iAnywhere" in the next 12-18 months that could help jumpstart iPhone and iPad growth, as well as cloud-based services and sales going forward. Moskowitz acknowledges it's not a new concept, but he thinks it's coming sooner rather than later.
"We think that as penetration rates in smartphones moderate and competition intensifies, Apple will need to introduce new product technologies or services to leapfrog the competition," Moskowitz wrote in a research note on Wednesday. "All of this is important given how the iPad has not become the next growth chariot for the company. At the same time, the iPhone has begun to exhibit shorter growth spurts following new product launches, which is why we think Apple needs a leapfrog event, such as iAnywhere."
iAnywhere would be a "converged Mac OS - iOS operating system that allows an iPhone or iPad to dock into a specially configured display to run as a computer," Moskowitz wrote in the note. "We expect Apple to maintain a separate Mac OS for traditional Macs."Moskowitz has an "overweight" rating and a $585 price target on the stock. "The use case of a converged device could be applicable for both consumers and enterprises. Apple could generate revenue through sales of specially configured displays, iAnywhere-capable iPhones or iPads, and cloud-based software and storage devices," he goes on to write. "With iAnywhere, we think a converged mobility and computing platform could drive a multi-year replacement cycle as users look to consolidate devices while also establishing a 'take anywhere' computing environment," Moskowitz adds. "Beyond Apple, we think the iAnywhere platform would have implications for other computing vendors, such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and Microsoft (MSFT). Traditional PC sales could lag over time if iAnywhere is successful," he continues. "Plus, with iAnywhere's converged operating system, we think Office would work with the platform, meaning the absence of Office for iPad becomes a moot point - i.e., Office would no longer be a limiting factor for iPad adoption by productivity users." Moskowitz notes that his earnings and revenue estimates do not include iAnywhere at this time. Apple shares were most recently trading up 0.44% to $538.33. AAPL data by YCharts
--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. Follow @LKulikowski