Wall Street analysts continue to debate whether Apple stock (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report is a buy as we head into 2022. Recently, I presented the bear argument that, if proven right, could foretell a drop of around 18% in the stock price.
But investors seem to be siding with bulls at the moment, as AAPL shares continue to make fresh highs. Today, I talk about two key reasons recently presented by analysts suggesting that Apple stock could be a good bet for the new year.
(Read more from the Apple Maven: The Bears Have Spoken: Apple Stock Could Drop 18%)
iPhone: not all about the holiday
The recent headlines have highlighted the expected performance of the iPhone in the current holiday period. Bloomberg hinted at a slowdown in demand, supported by alleged order cancellations with suppliers. The data point contradicted earlier Wall Street projections for an above-estimate volume of iPhone shipments in the current shopping season.
But DigiTimes Taiwan has recently shifted the focus of attention to the longer term. According to the publication, Apple is looking to “[increase] iPhone shipments by 30% for the first half of next year with the larger goal of exceeding 300 million iPhone shipments in 2022.”
If confirmed, this would represent massive YOY improvement, especially in the first few months of the year. Keep in mind (chart below) that the Cupertino company dropped the mic on iPhone sales in the early part of 2021, setting the bar very high for growth in 2022.
I would warn readers, however, not to rely too much on unofficial announcements about iPhone sales. In addition to the issue of reliability of rumors, the assumption of higher shipments could be a misread on Apple ramping up iPhone production to anticipate supply chain constraints.
Apple Glass: the next big thing
The other key reason to own AAPL in 2022 could be the introduction of a brand-new product category. Wedbush’s Dan Ives has been labeling the new device “Apple Glass”, the company’s first attempt at penetrating the AR/VR (augmented and virtual reality) space.
Mr. Ives goes further and estimates the impact of the new product on Apple stock price. According to the analyst, the product launch “could eventually add approximately $20 per share to the sum-of-the-parts value” of the shares.
Wedbush is not alone in its bullish assessment. Morgan Stanley has already suggested that Apple unveiling a mixed reality device in 2022 would be the key catalyst for the hotly-debated metaverse to finally take off.
(Read more from the Apple Maven: Apple Stock Is On Fire: $3.2 Trillion Market Cap Is Next)
The Apple Maven’s take
Even as Apple stock reaches its all-time high of $175 apiece, I maintain my bullish stance on the name. Apple’s position as the most important player in consumer tech is at the center of the investment thesis, in my view.
However, keep in mind that buying AAPL at peak price has produced one-year forward returns of “only” 25%, on average, during the iPhone era (i.e. since 2007). This number compares to a much better 46% average annual gain when the stock was bought following a 10% drawdown.
From current levels, therefore, I think that investors should expect to rake in lower returns than if they were buying a dip in share price.
(Disclaimers: this is not investment advice. The author may be long one or more stocks mentioned in this report. Also, the article may contain affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence editorial content. Thanks for supporting the Apple Maven)