Amid all the iPhone 5 hype, Apple's stock moved past the $700 mark Tuesday, as investors continued to flock to shares like ants at a picnic. Several analysts raised their Apple price targets this week, with some seeing as much as 20% upside in shares. One especially bullish analyst was Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee, who raised his price target to $840 from $820 while keeping a buy rating. "We continue to believe many underestimate iPhone 5 in that it is a significant update and will drive a powerful product cycle," he wrote, adding later: "We continue to believe iPhone 5 will put a lot of pressure on competitors where it will incrementally capture a portion of customers attracted to Android/Windows smart phones with larger screens and/or 4G LTE wireless."
Wednesday saw the public release of Apple's new mobile operating system, iOS 6. Included in the new operating system are Passbook, an app for storing coupons, tickets and gift cards, and Apple Maps, which replaces Google ( GOOG) Maps. Everyone's favorite voice navigation assistant, Siri, also received several updates.
Even though a significant number of people praised iOS 6, one feature did not get a glowing response: Apple Maps. Many are disappointed at the information, accuracy, and data points available on Apple's new mapping application, when compared to Google Maps. It caused quite a media backlash, enough for Apple to respond on Thursday. "Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service," said Apple spokeswoman Trudy Miller. "We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover and Siri integration, and free turn-by-turn navigation." "We launched this new map service knowing that it is a major initiative and we are just getting started with it," Miller added. "We are continuously improving it, and as Maps is a cloud-based solution, the more people use it, the better it will get. We're also working with developers to integrate some of the amazing transit apps in the App Store into iOS Maps. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better."
Customers clamored for the iPhone 5, forming lines at Apple Stores around the globe, and Christmas in September at last arrived on Friday. Analysts are expecting massive sales this weekend at the iPhone 5 rolls out in nine countries, and 100 by the end of the year. Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore believes demand will be extremely strong, based on both a new form factor, as well as the Long Term Evolution (LTE) upgrade Apple included in the new iPhone. He raised his price target to $850. As soon as the iPhone 5 went on sale in Australia, it was torn down to see what chips were inside. Companies like Avago Technologies ( AVGO) and Skyworks Solutions ( SWKS) received more space inside the phone, while others such as Qualcomm ( QCOM) kept steady positions. For all the hoopla surrounding Apple, shares didn't really show it this week, gaining just 1.3% to close at $700.09.
Despite what the media wants you to believe, the week wasn't all about Apple. Believe it or not, there are other technology companies. On the earnings front, investors got results from Oracle ( ORCL) and Adobe ( ADBE). Adobe missed Wall Street expectations for its third quarter, as the company is being hurt by software shifting to the cloud. The San Jose, Calif.-based firm earned 58 cents a share on revenue of $1.081 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for 58 cents per share on $1.10 billion in sales. Adobe gave fourth-quarter revenue guidance that was below expectations. Adobe expects sales to be between $1.075 billion and $1.125 billion, compared to analysts' forecast of $1.21 billion. Excluding items, Adobe's looking for fourth-quarter earnings between 53 cents and 58 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are predicting earnings of 67 cents a share. Adobe shares gained 1.4% to close the week at $33.83.
Oracle missed top-line estimates for its first quarter. The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based software giant generated non-GAAP earnings of $2.6 billion, or 53 cents a share, for the three months ended in August on revenue of $8.18 billion. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for the company to report a profit of 53 cents per share on revenue of $8.42 billion. Oracle shares lost 1.46% this week to finish at $32.47.
Microsoft ( MSFT) announced this week that it was raising its quarterly dividend by 15% to 23 cents per share. The dividend is payable Dec. 13 to shareholders of record on Nov. 15, and shares will go ex-dividend Nov. 13. Shares of Microsoft lost 0.06% this week to close at $31.19.
AMD ( AMD) slumped this week following the resignation of its CFO, Thomas Seifert. "Seifert has informed the company of his decision to resign as senior vice president and chief financial officer to pursue other opportunities," explained AMD, in a statement released after market close on Monday. "Seifert's departure is not based on any disagreement over the Company's accounting principles or practices, or financial statement disclosures," it added. Shares of AMD fell 7.69% this week to $3.60.
Earnings season kicks into high gear next week, with names like Research In Motion ( RIMM), Jabil Circuit ( JBL), Micron Technology ( MU) and others showcasing their quarterly results. Enjoy the weekend everyone! Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock. -- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >Contact by Email. Follow @Commodity_Bull