By Matthew Radman
Money and Investing Writer
Last week Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) stock topped its previous all-time-high closing share price of $133.29 on Monday and on Tuesday it passed its intraday trading record of $134.54 with a price of $135.
New features and hype surrounding the tenth anniversary of the iPhone has investors predicting a huge upgrade to the coming iPhone as well as an upgrade to its stock price.
With a market capitalization surpassing $700 billion, a milestone so early into 2017 is a good sign for a company who had a stingy 2016.
The news was predictable to Steven Milunovich, an analyst at UBS. Before the milestone, Milunovich noted that management was emphasizing services over the past year.
Currently services are under appreciated by the market. He compared the stock to that of PayPal’s (NASDAQ: PYPL) stating that if Apple’s services were valued like PayPal, the stock would be 10 percent higher. Many signs point to Apple pursuing services in the future as it provides a new market to explore that offers much better profitability than the smartphone market.
Closing in on the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone, investors are expecting a significant upgrade to their flagship smartphone. Tech websites such as CNET predict the phone to have updated specification internally as well as substantial exterior upgrades such as an iris scanner, wireless charging, and an edge-to-edge glass display.
IPhones have historically been stock price boosters for Apple as their previous high was in May 2015, about 6 months after the first shipments of the iPhone 6, the last time Apple changed the hardware of the iPhone.
Although the iPhone is the workhorse in terms of sales when compared to the rest of Apple’s offerings, new upgrades and products promise a revitalization for years to come. Tech site Digitimes reports that Apple is looking to refresh the iPad lineup after years of static.
The tech giant is also looking to upgrade their iMacs as well as the Apple Watch, incrementally. Apple is also breaking out into the headphone market with their strongest push since they acquired Beats by Dre in 2014. They have integrated a special chip that helps new Bluetooth headphones work more seamlessly with an Apple smartphone or computer.
For years, there have been reports of Apple being in negotiations with cable companies and content providers in hopes of a television service. It has its sights set on the success found by Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) in producing original content. The transition for Apple TV from a streaming box to a full out service is an advancement worth paying attention to in coming years or even months.
The world’s most valuable brand has found its footing once again in the stock market. Its price is up about 40 percent from February last year. It seemed as though Apple got off track in 2016; being the first year that the iPhone has not gotten a significant exterior makeover for three models in a row.
New products, features, and an increasing focus on services helped push Apple’s stock to the new milestone price. If Apple executes on the predicted items, it will continue to be a buy-worthy stock.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 print edition.
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