“A few more exciting things in store”. This is how Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, speaking to analysts during the most recent earnings call, set the stage for one last batch of product announcements this year. The company has scheduled the unveiling of the new devices for November 10, at 1 p.m. EST.
As usual, the Apple Maven will follow the event live, with coverage starting at 12:45 p.m. EST, this coming Tuesday. I invite you to join the real-time blog by visiting thestreet.com/apple.
Ahead of the announcement, let’s take a look at what investors should expect to see.
Mac will be the star
Consensus suggests that the most likely products to be unveiled next week will be a series of Mac devices. The laptop computers will feature Apple-designed processors, a move that was telegraphed by Apple itself during this year’s WWDC event, which took place in July.
One of the key questions is: which new Mac devices will be announced? Bloomberg originally speculated that the 13-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro plus the 13-inch MacBook Air would be refreshed. Now, due to potential supply constraints, it is likely that only the smaller devices will see the light of day in 2020.
I am also curious to see if there will be any price change to the computers. I believe that Macs with Apple silicon could see margins improve over time. Could this potential margin expansion be limited or magnified by pricing changes? Currently, the prices on the three devices are as follows:
- MacBook Air: starts at $899, as high as $2,129
- 13-inch MacBook Pro: starts at $1,199, as high as $3,639 with software bundle
- 16-inch MacBook Pro: starts at $2,199, as high as $6,279 with software bundle
As a refresher, Mac revenues have been on fire in 2020. Last quarter, the segment grew at a year-over-year pace of 29% (see below). In the previous period, the growth rate had been an also impressive 22%.
Could there be surprises?
Apple’s “one more thing” event could showcase “one more thing”: AirPod Studios.
This device has been on the rumor list for over two years, and it was often speculated to come out earlier in 2020. I believe it is a near-guarantee that Apple will release its own over-the-ear device. But will now be the time?
I think a potential announcement in November would be a minor positive for Apple. In this stay-at-home economy, headphones designed to be used primarily in the home could be a hit, especially if released ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Worth mentioning, the wearables and home segment is Apple’s fastest-growing, excluding distortions caused by COVID-19 in 2020.
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