Thursday, July 06, 2006

Calls of Note Part 1

- JP Morgan comments on Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) noting their Asia team recently released some commentary on the launch dates for the new iPod nanos and the "true" video iPod. For the new nanos, it appears the flash suppliers had expected a launch some time this summer, but now the launch appears more likely later in the September quarter, which supports firm's previously set expectations.

Most important, the checks by the Asia team clearly refute some of the recent chatter over a more substantial delay for the refreshed nanos. With a full ramp in September, Apple should be able to meet the peak demand season in the December quarter.

As for the "true" video iPod (video iPod with a widescreen display), the Asia team cited previous expectations for a launch in the July-August time frame, which was far earlier than firm's expectation for a launch in the December quarter. The Asia team now believes that the product could be launched in the December quarter, though the exact timing of the launch is still unclear. Any further delay in the "true" video iPod's launch may be more closely related to Apple's negotiations with the movie studios than to any technical delays.

Reits Overweight on AAPL.

Notablecalls: Not actionable but good to know category.

- Soleil's SurTerre Research comments on news that privately-held Clearwire Corp, a next- generation WiMAX service provider founded by wireless magnate Craig McCaw, raised $900 million in private funding from Intel and Motorola. According to the firm, this is the largest private investment they've seen in the WiMAX space to date. Notes that Clearwire had previously filed in May 2006 to raise up to $400 million in an IPO to pursue market and network expansion and to acquire wireless spectrum.

In addition to its investment in Clearwire, Motorola also agreed to buy Clearwire's internal equipment subsidiary, NextNet Wireless, for an undisclosed amount. Technically, NextNet was a competitor to Alvarion (NASDAQ:ALVR); however, it's largest customer is Clearwire.

While Alvarion is not a direct beneficiary of this funding, the firm expects this sizable investment to provoke new interest in the WiMAX space.

The timing of this investment is interesting, in their view, as the FCC is scheduled to auction off a new swatch of spectrum for advanced wireless services (AWS-1) in August in a transaction dubbed "Auction 66". This spectrum can support WiMAX and other wireless broadband services. This may be the biggest chunk of wireless spectrum to come available in the U.S., and it could be worth up to $15 billion according to officials.

Notablecalls: If ALVR's chart didn't look as bad as it does right now, I'd buy it for a trade.

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