Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) held its annual September event this week, unveiling the iPhone 15, the next generation of Apple Watch Ultra, and an update to AirPods Pro. The company’s shares slipped roughly 2% in the hours after the presentation, a common occurrence on the day following the yearly event.
The day’s biggest news was the long-anticipated switch in iPhone charging ports from Lightning to USB-C. The company was forced to make the change by European regulators as it will reduce waste, allowing consumers to use fewer cables. While there weren’t many other earth-shattering product updates, small changes in software throughout Apple’s lineup could suggest bigger things to come.
The company is gradually adding artificial intelligence (AI) tools to its devices and introducing features that call attention to its coming virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) headset, the Vision Pro. Apple is a company on a growth path, so here are three things smart investors know about its dominating business.
A Bloomberg report in July revealed Apple had built a custom framework for developing AI models and produced its own version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which engineers call Apple GPT. Then, last month, the company’s third quarter of 2023 earnings report showed its research and development spending had hit close to $23 billion, an increase of about $3 billion from the year before. CEO Tim Cook disclosed in an interview with Reuters that the jump was mainly driven by increased research on generative AI technologies.
While companies like Microsoft and Amazon have been quick to share their ventures into AI, Apple has been quieter on the subject. Rather than speaking directly about the technology, it is slowly introducing AI-enabled features to its devices. And with leading market shares in several product categories, Apple could easily become the biggest growth driver of the public’s adoption of AI.
The company’s September event saw it using AI to improve several features of its devices, building on AI upgrades it introduced earlier this year. Apple’s virtual assistant Siri is now 25% more accurate with the help of AI. Meanwhile, Apple Watch wearers will soon be able to use a simple finger tap to answer calls, pause music, or launch information like weather. AI is helping Apple enhance usability in its products, which could boost sales over the long term and steal market share from the competition.
Apple’s first-ever VR/AR headset, the Vision Pro, is on track for release in 2024. With the new device, the company is entering a market worth roughly $17 billion, expected to develop at a compound annual growth rate of 45% through 2029. Apple’s past success of entering new industries and quickly rising to a position of dominance bodes well for its potential in the VR/AR market.
However, the Vision Pro’s launch price of $3,499 will lock out most consumers, with this iteration of the device reserved for enthusiasts and early adopters. Future generations of the headset will likely reduce the cost and make the technology more accessible to consumers. As a result, it’s promising to see the company laying the groundwork for attracting shoppers to VR/AR.
The company’s September event revealed a new feature that will allow the iPhone 15 to work together with the Vision Pro to provide a unique experience to users. The new iPhone will be able to film spatial video, which can be watched directly on the Vision Pro. The feature will be akin to filming a day at the beach with your family and being able to feel like you’re in the memory rather than watching from afar.
This is a small step, but it shows Apple strategically using its most popular product to call attention to the coming headset. More collaboration between devices could be a useful tool in building the Vision Pro’s user base.
Apple’s stock has tumbled 5% since June, hitting one of its lowest price points in three months. Dismal Q3 2023 earnings triggered the small sell-off, with revenue declines in three of its product categories. Macroeconomic headwinds have caught up with the company and could affect sales for the rest of the year.
However, Apple’s stock slump is an excellent time to make a long-term investment in the company. As its share price has fallen, its value has climbed. The chart below shows Apple’s price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) is one of the lowest among the “big five” of tech.
The figures above indicate Apple’s stock offers more value than Amazon, Meta Platforms, or Microsoft, with only Alphabet offering a slightly better P/E.
Poor economic conditions won’t last forever, with the company’s developing positions in AI and VR/AR strengthening its long-term prospects. Alongside a recent stock dip, Apple is a screaming buy this month for anyone looking for a long-term growth stock.
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