Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Calls of Note Part 2

- Several firms are commenting on Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) today following the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) held yesteday:

*Banc of America notes they believe that most investors had anticipated the new operating system in the March Q, so the release date will either be in-line or about a month later than expectations. The firm had modeled in 20% y/y software and other rev growth for the next three quarters, so they might move some revs (~$20 million) from near-term quarters to the March and June '07 quarters, assuming no additional upside from other sources such as iPod. However, they believe that we could see upside to their iPod unit volumes in 2H06 of 24 million units.

Apple also announced the final product conversion to Intel - high-end desktop and server. The firm doesn't anticipate tremendous unit volumes, but some ASP improvement in desktops as a result of these products. More importantly, Apple now has all products moved to Intel.
From a stock perspective, they believe that Leopard will help further the long- term advantages of Apple over PC market, though near term they believe that investors expected more product releases at this event, so they think NT investors were/will be disappointed. Firm expects more iPod news in Sept. No changes to estimates, rating (Buy) and TP - $79.

* TWP notes Apple held its WWDC 2006 in San Francisco on August 7, which, compared to previous events, was somewhat disappointing, in their view.

Apple announced the completion of Intel transition with the introduction of Mac Pro and new Xserve, both of which feature Quad 64-bit Xeon processors. Mac Pro is available immediately for $2,499 onward and is about 2x faster and $800 cheaper than its predecessor. The new Xserve will be available in October 2006 and is expected to be 5x faster and cost $1,000 less than its predecessor. Firm notes that Apple is pricing these new high-end Macs below competitors, thus, it could be a sales driver; however, some new third-party application software is still unavailable until year-end, so they believe that there could be a slow uptake from the pro-market until all necessary software is available.

Apple also previewed the new Leopard with 64-bit support and several new features like Time Machines, Spaces, Mail and iChat. This will not be launched, however, until spring 2007 versus firm's expectations of fall 2006 or by the end of the year at the latest. This could stall Mac uptake somewhat in the holiday season.

The major disappointment in conference was the lack of iPod refresh, and they believe that investors were expecting at least some type of refresh. This implies no new catalyst for the back-to-school season, which is a major consumer buying season. Firm would not, however, rule out a pre-holiday refresh for iPods, but for now, they are reducing their iPod estimates for F4Q06. Notes that their revenue and EPS estimates are now in line with the Street, which are at the high end of guidance. Maintains Peer Perform.

* Morgan Stanley says there were no conceptual surprises at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. The event stayed true to its developer roots in only focusing on new Professional product - including an Intel-based Mac Pro Desktop and Xserve Server. If Apple is able to ramp volume of the new Mac Pro, upside exists to September Q Mac forecast. Channel inventory remains low for Apple's Nano product (less than a week of 4GB Nano inventory according to distributor checks) - pointing to potential new product over the next month.

Notablecalls: I suspect AAPL may trade down today.

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