According to data provided by IG Group, an online trading platform, the ability of new products to move Apple's stock has diminished over time. Last Wednesday, Apple's stock reached a new all-time high of $229.67 per share, but has since dipped to about $219 amidst wider tech weakness and concerns about the impact of China trade tariffs.
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IG Group tracked each of Apple's product launches since it first introduced the iPhone in 2007, and compared each with the difference in Apple's stock price three days before and three days after the products were announced.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the original iPhone -- a category-defining device that still drives the majority of Apple's revenue -- made the biggest difference in Apple's share price, driving the stock 10.5% higher to the equivalent of $13.52 per share, accounting for Apple's 7-for-1 stock split in June 2014.
A lot has changed since then for Apple, not the least of which its stock value: Apple shares were trading at $223.10 as of Thursday's close, and it became the first company to surpass a $1 trillion market cap in August. But one side effect of Apple's evolution seems to be that new products don't seem to move the needle much -- and in some some cases, the market has reacted poorly to new iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.
"Clearly investors were onboard with the pre-launch hype around the first ever handset, but only a year later in June 2008 when the very next edition was launched, share price for Apple dropped by a staggering 6.4%," said an IG spokesperson. The second worst-performing product announcement, in terms of stock movement, was Apple's unveiling of the iPhone 5S/C in September 2013, which led to a 6.1% decrease.
The iPhone is still Apple's biggest cash cow, but updates in recent years have been more incremental than revolutionary: "It's becoming increasingly difficulty to have a wow factor," said DA Davidson's Tom Forte.
At the Sept. 12 event, new iPhones could include fresh options in screen size, colors and one at a lower-price point that could open up the product to more consumers, according to recent rumors. But the event could also include announcements or hints of some of Apple's other initiatives, such as augmented reality, Apple's long-rumored video streaming service or even an Apple Glasses device. Adding fuel to rumors of an augmented reality glasses product, Apple bought a startup last week called Akonia Holographics, which makes 'smart glass lenses'.
Sleek new iPhones are a sure bet at Apple's unveiling next week -- but a 'wow' factor could prove more elusive. That may actually be a good thing for investors, according to RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani, because it means Apple investors are less fixated on 'super cycles' involving mass adoption of a single product like the iPhone X.
"Unlike last year, we don't see investors fixated on a super cycle, which encourages us to think that a solid well-executed product lineup has potential to surprise in coming quarters," Daryanani wrote in a note this week.
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