Commentary

Apple's Silver Lining

While analysts were understandably upset about Apple’s poor first-quarter forecast, the company posted some darn impressive figures on Tuesday.

Along with record profits during the fourth quarter, Apple said its active installed base surpassed a billion devices for the first time ever.

From iPhones to iPads to Macs to Apple Watches, the number of gadgets syncing with Apple’s services increased by a healthy 25%, year-over-year.

It didn’t hurt that the company that Steve Jobs built sold a record 74.8 million iPhones during the fourth quarter, not to mention 16.1 million iPads, and 5.3 million Macs.

Partly as a result, Apple generated nearly $6 billion in revenue from services, including its App Store, iTunes, Apple Music subscriptions, Apple Pay.

But analysts say the tech giant’s biggest and best hope lies in the success of its next iPhone. “Clearly, Cook & Co. have a few tough quarters ahead until we get to the buildup around iPhone 7 later this year, which is what bulls (including ourselves) are focused on to turn this ship back into growth waters,” Daniel Ives, a senior analyst at FBR, explained in a note to investors.

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Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster couldn’t agree more. “We believe shares of AAPL could achieve upside of over 50% from current levels by the iPhone 7 launch in September,” Munster wrote in his own note.

That’s extremely optimistic considering signs that the global smartphone market is maturing. But, when it comes to smartphones, we wouldn’t put anything past Apple.

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