Apple’s last wave of product announcements is set to take place on October 18. Starting at 10 o’clock in the morning, Pacific time, the Cupertino company should unveil its new MacBook Pro during what has become known as Apple’s “Unleashed” event (see tweet below).
The Apple Maven will cover the event via live blog. As usual, we will focus on how the developments of the day will impact Apple stock (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report and its investors. Immediately below is a brief section on what to expect of the keynote address, followed by our real-time commentary.
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What to expect
Apple has recently refreshed its lineup of iPhone, Watch and iPad. It is nearly a consensus, therefore, that the MacBook Pro will be the star of the show this time.
Apple’s smaller, 13-inch laptop computer models (Pro and Air) were equipped with the company’s M1 chip for the first time in November 2020. Left to be refreshed was the 16-inch version. Expect it now to come with Apple’s own silicon inside as well.
MacRumors also talks about a brand-new, 14-inch version that could replace last year’s 13-inch Pro model. The new device would have slimmer bezel, allowing for a larger screen within the same-size case. Both trims could also be equipped with features like extra ports for SD card and HDMI, MagSafe charger and redesigned camera notch.
I will be impressed if Apple manages to unveil both the 14- and the 16-inch models at once. Keep in mind that global supply chains have been experiencing a logistics crisis, and component shortages have been the norm. Launching two devices at once would allow Apple to flex its supply chain muscles, and could be a stock price mover on Monday.
As a reminder, Apple’s Mac division is currently facing very tough pandemic-year comps – see chart below. To produce compelling segment revenue growth (or growth at all) in the next 12 months, the Cupertino company will need to pull a rabbit out of a hat. This is why Monday’s event is so important.
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Live blog starts here!
(Refresh your page for updates)
11:05 a.m. PST: And this is a wrap! Thanks for following our live blog today. I hope to see you back on thestreet.com/apple for our live coverage of Apple's fiscal Q4 earnings, on October 28! See you then...
11:03 a.m. PST: The strategy of widening the reach to the lower end of the spectrum worked for the iPhone in the past few years, although not without hiccups here and there (e.g. iPhone SE). It should work for music services and devices as well, I think.
11:00 a.m. PST: On that front, I picked up two themes. First, Apple is focusing on music consumption. Second, when it comes to music, the company seems to be reaching towards the more price-sensitive, casual-user end of the spectrum. Think younger audience, for example, maybe developing markets as well.
10:58 a.m. PST: Secondarily, it was interesting to see Apple make parallel announcements on music-related products and services: Apple Music Voice Plan, HomePod mini Color, and 3rd Gen AirPods.
10:56 a.m. PST: Keep in mind (see graph above) that, when it comes to Mac segment comps, Apple has a large wall to climb in the next few quarters. But the company has done exactly what it has to, today, to have a good chance at delivering strong Mac revenue numbers through 2022.
10:54 a.m. PST: Apple's last product launch event of 2021 was a success, in my view. The Mac was the star of the show, as expected. But beyond my expectations, Apple dazzled on M1 Pro and Max performance, and also on how quickly the company will bring the new MacBook Pro models to market. Huge win!
10:53 a.m. PST: With Apple stock trading higher for the day by around +0.75%, here are some of my takeaways for investors...
10:51 a.m. PST: Alright, the event has ended!
10:50 a.m. PST: I believe I saw a starting price of $2,500 for the 16.2-inch device, which would be a bump of $100 compared to last year's model.
10:48 a.m. PST: Excellent... both 14.2-inch and 16.2-inch models can be ordered today for next week delivery!
10:45 a.m. PST: Apple stock slowly fizzles from the peak, but remains up +0.6% for the day.
10:43 a.m. PST: On price, will it be higher than the $2,400 starting price of the 16-inch model? On availability, will Apple manage to start selling and delivering the new products well ahead of the Black Friday weekend and rest of holiday shopping season?
10:41 a.m. PST: Focus turns to GPU and graphic performance. We've already had a taste of it, when the M1 Pro and Max were introduced a few minutes ago. From an investor perspective, I am now interested in the following: (1) price and (2) availability.
10:40 a.m. PST: MacBook Pro has better camera, better sound, 80% more bass and spatial audio.
10:39 a.m. PST: Some impressions... Apple continues to push the envelop on the technology. The move to internally-designed silicon seems to be paying off. The product improvements are noticeable and impressive. This is all good news for investors, in my view.
10:36 a.m. PST: Yes, bezels are thinner, displays are larger. Screen wraps around the camera notch, as is the case with the iPhone. The 16-inch model is now a 16.2-inch device. Apple is also unveiling a 14.2-inch model.
10:35 a.m. PST: Yes, more ports. They allow for connection with a number of devices, including several high-end monitors.
10:33 a.m. PST: Keyboard design has changed slightly as well, in line with expectations.
10:32 a.m. PST: New MacBook Pro has new aluminum enclosure, more air intake. I could already see more ports and new camera notch design.
10:31 a.m. PST: Side comment... Apple really knows how to promote their products!
10:31 a.m. PST: Ok, now let's talk specifics on the MacBook Pro devices.
10:30 a.m. PST: It is possible to notice the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indices rising slightly in the last few minutes, clearly driven by the climb in Apple stock price... the latter is now up around +0.8% for the day.
10:27 a.m. PST: Discussion turns to applications of Apple's newly-announced chips.
10:23 a.m. PST: Much better GPU and graphic performance per unit of power consumption. See two graphs below.
10:21 a.m. PST: Second chip introduced, M1 Max! 57 billion transistors, almost twice as many as M1 Pro's! 4x faster GPU performance than M1.
10:20 a.m. PST: Ok, NOW Apple stock price spiked... up around +0.6% for the day.
10:19 a.m. PST: M1 Pro has many more transistors than M1 for much faster performance, including graphics.
10:16 a.m. PST: Ok, Mac is next! CEO Tim Cook confirms that the M1 will equip the MacBook Pro. Introducing M1 Pro!
10:15 a.m. PST: Interesting, the AirPods 2nd Gen will still be sold, but at a lower price. Apple is expanding its AirPods portfolio from the low-to-high end of the spectrum, as it does with the iPhone.
10:14 a.m. PST: AirPods is sweat resistant, MagSafe-ready, better battery. Good stuff. Selling for $179, available for delivery next week.
10:12 a.m. PST: Investors don't seem swayed much though, at least so far. Apple stock is still trading at the same +0.15% to +0.2% levels.
10:11 a.m. PST: AirPods 3rd Gen is announced! Focus on spatial audio and powerful bass. Ok, so today has been about quite a bit more than the MacBook Pro already.
10:10 a.m. PST: There's more on music! AirPods is next...
10:08 a.m. PST: HomePod mini Color also announced. The presentation makes it clear that Apple is pushing for voice-activation control (Siri). Devices will cost $99 and be available next month.
10:07 a.m. PST: Ok, so Apple has actually announced a new, voice-based Apple Music subscription service. This plan costs only $5.
10:04 a.m. PST: Regarding music, the announcement seems to be better integration between Apple Music and Siri. This is a push that speaks to Apple's services segment and the ecosystem at large.
10:03 a.m. PST: Focus of the event today, according to the CEO, is on (1) music and (2) the Mac.
10:02 a.m. PST: The event has started! Intro for now, expect CEO Tim Cook to show up soon.
10:00 a.m. PST: Apple has its "be right back" page up on its online store -- as usual, on product announcement days.
9:59 a.m. PST: Very quick reminder... today, we will almost certainly see the launch of the 16-inch MacBook Pro equipped with Apple's own silicon chip (for the first time). I think it will be a plus, possibly even for the stock, if Apple also launches a new 14-inch version.
9:57 a.m. PST: Apple stock has pulled back a bit since earlier this morning despite the Nasdaq having climbed. It now trades +0.18%.
9:56 a.m. PST: Those who would like to watch the keynote should visit Apple's event page by clicking here.
9:55 a.m. PST: ...and we are back! The event should start in just about 5 minutes.
8:16 a.m. PST: I will be back in around 90 minutes to start the live coverage of Apple's "Unleashed" event! Stay tuned...
8:15 a.m. PST: Hello, everyone! Quick price check on AAPL stock and the market in general. The chart below shows that Apple shares have been climbing throughout the morning. However, up a modest 0.3% to 0.4% so far, the stock has been trading in line with the Nasdaq index today.
3:00 a.m. PST: Welcome to our live blog! We will return soon with coverage of Apple’s October event. In the meantime, feel free to participate in the poll below, and to follow us on Twitter!
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