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Will Apple (AAPL) Introduce Refreshed Line of Macs at WWDC?

Zacks Equity Research

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that Apple Inc AAPL might announce upgrades to its laptops at its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, to be held in June. There were no comments from Apple on the matter.

The report added that MacBook Pro is likely to have Intel’s INTC Kaby Lake processor. The 12-inch MacBook will most likely be refreshed with an Intel processor as well.  The 13-inch MacBook Air is also likely to get a new processor. Also, chances are that the upgraded version of the macOS operating system might also be announced at the conference.

For a long time, Apple refrained from updating MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and iMacs. The company last announced updates (not much significant) to MacBook Pro (both 13-inch and 15-inch models) in early 2015. It added the Touch Bar feature to MacBook Pro last year. Apple updated the 12-Inch MacBook in 2016 by just adding a rose gold color edition.

Analysts believe that Apple needs to do something about its laptop/tablet business to fend off competition, especially from Microsoft MSFT. Though the business isn’t as big a contributor to revenues as its flagship device iPhone (which contributes to nearly 60% of Apple’s revenues), the company’s aversion to upgrading the lineup has already caused a sense of dissatisfaction among Apple lovers.

Recently in April, J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Study revealed that Microsoft’s Surface gives higher satisfaction to customers compared with Apple’s iPad and tablets from Samsung, LG, Amazon AMZN, Acer and Asus, beating all the devices on three counts — Internet connectivity, availability of official accessories and the suite of pre-installed applications.

Microsoft has continuously pitched the product against Apple’s iPad while rapidly learning from its mistakes to make better and better iterations. The company recently introduced a new Surface Laptop, which boots up in seconds as well as boasts a 14-hour battery life, per Bloomberg. In addition, the price-point advantage compared to Apple’s Mac line up might end up luring hardcore Apple lovers, Bloomberg observes.

Apple Inc. Price

Apple Inc. Price | Apple Inc. Quote

In the last reported quarter, Apple Mac unit sales were up 4% year over year to approximately 4.2 million, while revenues (11% of total revenue) grew 14% from the prior-year quarter to $5.8 billion. However, coming to iPad, Apple sold 8.9 million units in the quarter, down 13% year over year. Revenues of $3.9 billion (7.4% of total revenue) were down 12% from the prior-year quarter.

Zacks Rank & Share Price Movement

At present, Apple carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Given the strong performance of its iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple’s shares have outperformed the broader market in the last six months. Over the past six months, shares of Apple have registered growth of 41.26% compared with the Zacks categorized Computer Mini industry’s gain of 39.97%.

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