Live Blog Of Apple's Product Refresh: What Investors Need To Know, In Real Time
It is time for Apple's September product refresh! The event starts this Tuesday, September 15, at 1 p.m. EST or 10 a.m. Cupertino time. It will be broadcast on Apple's YouTube channel.
The Apple Maven will follow all the action starting at 9:30 a.m. PST. But first, let's do a quick recap of what's to come, and what I will be paying close attention to today.
(Otherwise, scroll straight down to the "Live Coverage Starts Here!" section for real time insights).
Previewing Apple's September Product Refresh
I have published a series of articles about Apple's upcoming event. Recently, I posted a brief, 4-minute video recapping what I believe to be the main topics of conversation.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Apple Watch: if one thing is nearly certain, it is that the Series 6 will be unveiled this Tuesday. Wearables continue to be a high-growth segment for the Cupertino company, despite the COVID-19 headwinds. Check out this article.
- iPad: it is also very likely that we will see at least one new tablet model announced, maybe two: the 5th iPad Air and the 8th generation iPad. The timing may be ideal, since the iPad, along with the Mac, has been one of the main beneficiaries of the stay-at-home economy. Check out this article.
- iPhone 12: unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that Apple's 5G smartphone will see the light of day this Tuesday. The longer the wait, the more at risk the 5G supercycle becomes – at least in regard to near-term financial performance. Check out this article.
- Anything else? I would be very pleased to see the announcement of Apple One, the company's speculated service bundle. This would speak directly to one of Apple's key revenue growth engines, its service segment. Otherwise, there is a slim chance that the Mac with Apple silicon will be unveiled, and StudioPods could possibly be introduced as a new product category.
Fun fact: this morning, Apple's online store was unavailable for purchases. Even more interesting, prices for all Apple Watch and iPad models had been removed. It seems even more evident that these will be the two "stars of the show" this Tuesday.
Live coverage starts here!
8:15 a.m. PST: in just over an hour, I will be back to bring you real-time coverage of Apple's September product refresh event. Stay tuned!
9:30 a.m. PST: hello, everyone! Welcome to the Apple Maven's coverage of Apple's product refresh event.
9:31 a.m. PST: as a quick reminder, you can watch the event live (as live as it gets, since it will probably be pre-recorded) on YouTube.
9:33 a.m. PST: as I mentioned above, today I fully expect to hear about (1) the Apple Watch Series 6, likely with the replacement of the Series 3 as the entry-level model, and (2) a couple of iPad refreshes, most likely the plain and Air versions.
9:36 a.m. PST: from the investor's perspective, I think the iPad will be an important announcement, since the stay-at-home economy is the perfect opportunity for Apple to "strike the iron while it's hot".
9:38 a.m. PST: secondarily, or even more importantly, the bundling of some of Apple's services (a.k.a. Apple One) would be a very welcome development, in my view. Doing so might help to give some of Apple's less successful services a bit of a lift, including Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade.
9:42 a.m. PST: Twitter poll is up! What do you think?
9:45 a.m. PST: below is a quick refresher on how Apple's segments performed in the most recent quarter, from a revenue growth perspective. See what I mean about the iPad being a key item this year?
9:47 a.m. PST: we are less than 15 minutes from the start of the event!
9:57 a.m. PST: there have been speculations over other product announcements today, including the StudioPods. For investors, I believe that the only meaningful surprise would be the introduction of new Macs with Apple silicon -- which I find unlikely to happen today.
9:58 a.m. PST: while we continue to wait, check out my article about whether Apple might be a bubble stock at current levels.
9:59 a.m. PST: actually, hold that thought... Apple's live streaming has begun! Watch or listen to it on YouTube, and flip back to the Apple Maven for analysis.
10:01 a.m. PST: here we go... how can you not love Apple's cinematic presentations?
10:03 a.m. PST: hello, Tim Cook! The event is pre-recorded, as expected.
10:04 a.m. PST: Apple Watch is first! Confirmed: the iPad is the other product in the agenda.
10:07 a.m. PST: regarding the Apple Watch Series 6, the focus seems to be on health applications, judging by the intro video. It has been speculated that the new model would feature a blood oxygen monitor.
10:09 a.m. PST: health is a huge factor behind bullishness towards the Apple Watch. This is particularly true given an aging global population.
10:11 a.m. PST: Series 6 has been introduced, with a few new wristbands.
10:12 a.m. PST: blood oxygen monitor confirmed.
10:15 a.m. PST: so far, no major surprises. Investors seem to agree, as the stock has moved little in the past minutes. Rather, I see a very small decline right at the start of the event -- maybe once Tim Cook made it clear that today's event would be about the Watch and iPad, not the iPhone or possibly services.
10:19 a.m. PST: the solo loop wristband is a neat little feature.
10:22 a.m. PST: Apple stock taking a bit more of a hit now, coinciding with the announcement of the new Apple Watch SE at the entry level. Likely market noise, as I can't find good reasons (so far) for the SE to be "bad news" for investors.
10:25 a.m. PST: ok, I wasn't quite expecting this. The Apple Watch SE will not be a replacement to the Series 3, but an in-between model priced at $279 to start. Series 3 remains, at a starting price of $199.
10:27 a.m. PST: It looks like Apple is going for a bit of addressable market expansion with the Watch. I see it as a positive.
10:29 a.m. PST: the new Watches will be available for purchase this Friday. No delays there. Good.
10:32 a.m. PST: the stock has not recovered from the one percentage point hit since the start of the event, but it is still well above the session low.
10:33 a.m. PST: Fitness+ announced. There you go, the services segment makes an appearance!
10:34 a.m. PST: fun fact, Peloton stock suffers a large 4% decline within seconds, with the announcement of Apple's entry into their turf.
10:36 a.m. PST: some integration between Apple Music+ and Fitness+. It is inevitable, I think, that Apple's services will increasingly "speak to each other".
10:37 a.m. PST: Fitness+ will cost $10 per month or $80 per year.
10:38 a.m. PST: more exciting news about services? Uh-oh! Nice! Let's go Apple One...
10:39 a.m. PST: Apple One announced! iCloud, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+ and Fitness+. This is big, ladies and gentlemen!
10:40 a.m. PST: we quickly move on to the iPad... hold your horses, Tim Cook! Apple One is huge for investors! Digest that...
10:42 a.m. PST: new "plain" iPad announced, 8th generation.
10:45 a.m. PST: faster processing, accessories... your typical bump up in features and capabilities. It's what Apple had to do to capture momentum in tablet sales this year. Good!
10:47 a.m. PST: price starts at $329, no change from last model's. Availability is this coming Friday.
10:48 a.m. PST: iPad Air is next!
10:51 a.m. PST: that's a beautiful device! 10.9-inch screen is larger than last model's 10.5-inch version, enabled by thinner bezels. Hmmm, I want this one...
10:56 a.m. PST: features and benefits of the A14 Bionic chip discussed.
11:01 a.m. PST: iPad Air starts at $599. If I'm not mistaken, this is $100 more than last year's model.
11:02 a.m. PST: interesting to see stock price action. Shares dipped at the start of the event, spiked at the announcement of Apple One, and lost steam with the presentation of the iPad models.
11:03 a.m. PST: Tim Cook is wrapping things up!
11:04 a.m. PST: and that's a wrap! Let's address some key takeaways for investors:
11:06 a.m. PST: the event played out largely as expected, which helps to explain modest decline in the stock price as some investors probably chose to "sell the news".
11:09 a.m. PST: clearly some still had hopes for an iPhone announcement, which did not happen as per consensus. This explains the stock dipping one percentage point as soon as Tim Cook made it clear that today's event would be about the Watch and iPad. The Twitter-verse must have been a bit disappointed too...
11:10 a.m. PST: two positive developments for investors, in my view: (1) Apple One was indeed unveiled, and (2) the iPad lineup seems appealing enough to encourage upgrades in this stay-at-home year.
11:13 a.m. PST: this certainly leaves us with one highly-anticipated October event, when Apple is expected to finally announced the 5G-ready iPhone 12. Expect the conversation between now and then to revolve around when the announcement will be made, what models will be released, and when the new phones will start shipping. The sooner ahead of the holiday season, the better for the stock.
11:15 a.m. PST: comments about today's event? Leave them down below, in the comments section.
11:16 a.m. PST: that's a wrap on my end! Be sure to visit thestreet.com/apple for daily coverage on Apple, and more information about today's event. Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday!