Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) shares were firmly higher Tuesday after the world's biggest tech company unveiled a raft of new businesses, spanning from online streaming to credit cards, amid its leveraging the loyalty of its 1.4 billion customers as it moves to become less reliant on iPhone sales and focus on subscription and services revenues.
Apple's "It's Showtime" event on the company's Cupertino, California campus, which included appearances from U.S. entertainment icons Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg, gave investors their first look at a series of plans built off the so-called 'installed base' of 1.4 billion smartphone around the world. Apple will push into four new categories -- news, television streaming, video gaming and credit cards -- in a move that could take overall services revenue to around $60 billion next year, according to some analysts's forecasts, and transform the iconic iPhone maker's business model going forward.
"There has never been a moment quite like this one," Winfrey said as she embraced Apple CEO Tim Cook on the stage of the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's state-of-the-art campus . "We have this unique opportunity to rise to our best selves in how we use and choose to use both our technology and our humanity. That's why I have joined forces with Apple."
"They're in a billion pockets, y'all," she exclaimed in perhaps the event's signature assessment.
Apple shares were marked 1.57% higher at the start of trading Tuesday to change hands at $191.73 each, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain to around 21.4% and value the world's biggest company at just over $903.1 billion.
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"Coming off a strong Services quarter growing 19% YoY with 63% margins, we believe the new offerings will incrementally support double digit Services revenue growth towards its target of doubling revenue from 2016 to 2020 and achieving over 500M subscribers by 2020 ... as the company's growing portfolio of Services is monetized against their install base, and increases the company's business mix towards high margin, recurring services revenue products," said Canaccord Genuity Capital Markets analyst T. Michael Walkley.
"Based on (Monday's) announcements, with products launches through this fall, we have increased our Services segment growth rates for C'19/C'20 from 15%/15% to 17%/23%, with over $59B in Services revenue estimated for C'2020," he added.
Apple Card, the group's first foray into the credit card business, is likely to be the most profitable of the four new services revealed Monday in Cupertino, analysts have said, although there are questions as to whether the competition it will bring to other bank card provides, such as JP Morgan (JPM - Get Report) or Citigroup (C - Get Report) , will impede growth prospects for its Apple Pay division.
Apple News is another service that could create competition concerns, given that the single-app subscription offering will aggregate content that would cost around $8,000 a year individually for just a $120 annual fee, but it nonetheless has the power to attract a significant subscription base.
Less is known, however, about the potential impact of Apple TV+, given the lack of pricing details and a comprehensive preview of the original content that will augment aggregation from cable providers such as DirecTV and Spectrum and third-party providers such as HBO and Showtime, however, if it can gain traction in the installed base globally, or even simply in the United States, it has the near-term potential to disrupt the business model of competitors such as Roku (ROKU - Get Report) , but may not be the 'Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) Killer' it was touted to be by Apple insiders.
Apple Arcade, the tech group's mobile video game subscription service, is also unlikely to challenge high-end sector players such as Electronic Arts (EA - Get Report) and Activision Blizzard (ATVI - Get Report) , given the likely lower-value games it will attract from independent publishers on the developer-focused platform.
Apple's move into more broadly competitive arenas, however, and outside its traditional 'Walled Garden' of smartphone customers, could prove difficult for a company will little experience in those fields.
"Brand power and ownership of the consumer relationship are critical to success in digital content businesses," said KeyBanc Capital analyst Andy Hargreaves. "Apple's new video, gaming, and news services ask content providers to cede these in exchange for Apple's ability to deliver loyal iPhone users."
"This exchange is unlikely to prove attractive for the largest players in each industry," he added. "This creates a challenge for Apple to aggregate enough content to get consumers to subscribe without the marquee providers that have proven effective at getting people to pay."