Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Fails to Wow on iPhone 5 Release

There's nothing earth-shattering about AAPL's highly anticipated iPhone 5

by 9/12/2012 2:54 PM
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For weeks now, all eyes have been looking toward today's unveiling of Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL - 665.63) iPhone 5. Numerous sources leaked information as to the exact specifics of the model, and those leaks mostly appear to be incredibly accurate. At 1:00 PM ET today, CEO Tim Cook released the specs on the new phone, and while many are reveling in Apple's success, there is nothing earth-shattering here.

The iPhone 5 will offer three different models at different price points: a 16GB version for $199, a 32GB version for $299, and a 64GB version for $399. This offers flexibility among new buyers to frugally find the model that best fits their needs and budget. Each of these iPhone prices is predicated on a two-year contract with their cellular carrier. As a result of the new device, the iPhone 3Gs has been discontinued, and the iPhone 4 models are now considered the "old" ones.

The new phone features 4G LTE connectivity, a feature that many critics say kept the iPhone 4 from being a "game changer." Additionally, the new model will have a larger screen (with the new high-resolution retina display now used on new iPad models) than older models, and the phone will weigh about 20% less than the iPhone 4. There will also be a different port used to connect the iPhone to computers, chargers, etc. This will allow more compatibility with existing device cables currently on the market.

One last notable feature on the new iPhone is the inclusion of a photo stream. You'll be able to stream and share photos with friends and family that have the new device. This new capability is an obvious attempt to compete with Instagram, a very popular social network that is used for photo sharing among friends.

While AAPL has been a cash cow for investors for some time, my main concern about the company is that it's not innovating in the same manner it did years ago when the iPod and iPhone were first released. Since the first models, seemingly every subsequent model has been nothing more than a newer version of their original technology with more bells and whistles, faster components, and different operating systems. What made Apple reach the level of success that it has seen is innovation, both on the hardware and software fronts. What AAPL has done since then is merely remodel its original device with faster chips, higher-resolution screens, better Internet connectivity, and more user-friendly interfaces. With the exception of the new interface, all of the previously mentioned features are a result of purchasing better components from its suppliers, not new thinking within the Apple organization itself.

As they say in trading, "The trend is your friend." While I've given reasons to be skeptical of the continued meteoric rise by AAPL, I've seen nothing on the near horizon that can slow it down. There are many multinational markets that have seen only a fraction of the potential market penetration, and this can definitely continue to drive profits in the future.

That said, there will be some new, better phone technology to surface down the road, and whether or not Apple is the company to produce that technology remains to be seen. In order to remain atop the pedestal in the portable device market, it is time for Apple to innovate. Remember Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) 10 years ago? I didn't think so.


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