Apple's ‘Spring Loaded’ Event - Here's What to Expect

Apple is expected to reveal new iterations of its iPad, AirPods and other hardware products at its first product-launch event of the year. Here's what's coming.
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Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report will hold its first product-reveal event of the year on Tuesday, with analysts and investors expecting to see the newest iterations of the company’s iPads, AirPods and other hardware products, including the possible introduction of what have been called AirTags.

The digital event, called "Spring Loaded," will be streamed online instead of held in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It will kick off at 1 p.m. ET from the company’s headquarter in Cupertino, Calif. 

Apple’s event comes with even more anticipation and scrutiny this year, thanks to the curveball the pandemic has thrown at expectations for consumer and business demand for a new generation of Apple products, but also how a global chip shortage will impact new product production, distribution and supply for all Apple products.

Analysts and Apple-watchers expect the main focus of Tuesday’s event to be refreshes for the iPad Pro, iPad mini, and the low-cost iPad. Apple is expected to make significant changes to its 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models including its powerful updated A14X chip.

The higher-end 12.9-inch is expected to have a mini-LED display which analysts including Wedbush Securities’ Dan Ives said will be a “game changer around color performance, dimming capabilities, and high contrast capabilities for the consumer.”

Other potential reveals could include new colorful iMac versions, an updated Apple Pencil, or the long-awaited "AirTags" tracking devices, Wedbush said.

"Taking a step back, we believe Apple is still in the middle innings of its biggest product cycle year ever across iMacs, iPads, AirPods, Apple Watch, and of course the iPhone 12 supercycle which is set to be followed by the iPhone 13 unveil this Fall," Ives said a recent research note.

"While chip shortages linger, we believe Apple has a yellow brick road of growth ahead led by its iPhone supercycle and new product launches across its entire hardware ecosystem," Ives said. Ives maintains Apple as a top pick with a 12-month price target of $175.

That's based on a sum-of-the-parts valuation on Wedbush's 2022 estimates, including a 16 times multiple on Apple's services business at $1.2 trillion and a 7 times multiple on Apple's hardware business at $1.9 trillion.

At last check, Apple shares were trading down 0.09% at $134.71.

To be sure, Apple faces additional headwinds through 2021, including increased competition, increased regulatory scrutiny on alleged anticompetitive practices in how its products and services operate, and courtroom battles with Facebook  (FB) - Get Report, Epic Games and even Spotify  (SPOT) - Get Report.

In the interim, investors and analysts will get a chance to see Apple’s latest earnings numbers on April 28. The Apple Maven will review Apple the earnings report and conference call via live blog, starting that day at 4 p.m. ET. 

For a taste of what to expect, check out Apple Maven’s most recent real-time report on Apple’s financial performance in the fiscal fourth period of 2020.

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