Apple Inc. (NasdaqGS: AAPL) held its annual World Wide Developers Conference last week.
The usually captive tech media was totally underwhelmed.
And so was Wall Street.
The iDevice king failed to unveil any major products, continuing a trend that stretches back to the 2010 reveal of the iPad. That “failure” ignited another round of second-guessing by investors and the other pundits. Even the usually evenhanded Investor’s Business Daily summed it up by saying that “analysts say latest product rollouts fail to impress.”
As usual, the naysayers totally missed the point.
Granted, Apple didn’t introduce a new product at the World Wide Developers Conference.
But the way I see it, the Cupertino-based giant did something that was much more important than just roll out some new “gadget.” Apple actually unveiled strategy that puts the company into two new businesses and positions it for years of potential new growth.
And that means the stock – which has zoomed back up near its 52-week highs – is headed even higher.
Today, I’m going to show you why. And I’m going to start by telling you about a new concept in computing – a term you’ll soon be hearing lots about.
The Great Unifier
I love gadgets – for what they do for both my portfolio and my life – but what I’ve really been waiting for is a personal tech ecosystem in my home. And Apple has revealed a series of initiatives that will help create that ecosystem.
Apple will soon be uniting laptops, wearables, mobile devices and home automation – a holistic approach known as “Unified Computing.“
And this is just one of the reasons why I’m sticking by my prediction that Apple’s stock, within three years, will rise to $1,000 a share on a split-adjusted basis.
Unified computing is a system in which all the computers, software, handhelds and other devices in a given network communicate seamlessly with each other. I’ve been following this field for many years now, and Apple’s recent initiatives are the closest thing yet to making unified computing a reality in our homes.
Large organizations have been working on unified computing for decades.
The Pentagon, for example, has pushed for unified computing and communications for a very simple reason. Leaders of the U.S. military, the most tech-centric in the world, have an idea they call a “system of systems” – a technology-driven “force multiplier” that turns each of our soldiers and sailors into the equivalent of several enemy combatants.
You accomplish that by having ground computers connect to satellites that, in turn, talk to tank commanders that view video captured directly from soldiers’ night vision goggles. All that info can then be coordinated with fighter jets and combat ships.
As you might imagine, getting all these various information nodes to communicate with each other in real time still needs some refining.
The corporate world got into the act back in 2009 when Cisco Systems Inc. (NasdaqGS: CSCO) announced its very own Unified Computing System. The tech leader’s platform greatly helped big organizations’ computers and devices work better together on the same network.
Several other big-cap firms joined the initiative, most notably Microsoft Corp. (NasdaqGS: MSFT) and data storage leader EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC). Not to be outdone, Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) also debuted a series of unified-computing products.
While these were important developments, these giant firms were making the IT departments of large corporate organizations run more efficiently. These initiatives simply weren’t concerned with making our home lives simpler and more organized.
A New Kind of “Home Computing”
But now, that’s exactly what Apple wants to do. And what the company revealed last week shows significant progress toward that goal – to get its iDevices to communicate easily with each other, and with our homes, so that consumers receive a seamless computing experience.
Let’s start with the Silicon Valley leader’s new version of its OSX operating system for laptop and desktop computers. Dubbed Yosemite, the system sounds so elegant that I wanted to download it immediately – plus, its new translucent look will give Macs more of an iDevice look and feel.
Unfortunately, it won’t be available until this fall.
Yosemite makes Apple’s PCs play and work together with its mobile devices in whole new, better ways. For instance, with Yosemite’s Handoff feature, if you start to write a long e-mail on your iPhone and then lay it near your MacBook, the PC senses your device and prompts you to complete the e-mail on the larger screen.
To make this work, Apple is mixing Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and its Web storage system known as iCloud. With Yosemite, your PC will become an extension of your smartphone. If your iPhone is on the same Wi-Fi network as your Mac, you’ll be able to use your computer’s mic and speaker to make and receive calls.
Moreover, the wireless transfer system known as AirDrop that’s part of the iOS mobile operating system now dovetails with the Mac – you’ll soon be able to send text, photos and videos from your mobile devices right to your PC wirelessly.
At the same time, Apple is upgrading its mobile operating system, to be called iOS8. The new mobile operating system includes new programs that will allow you to better control your life – and health – from an iPhone or iPad.
Just take a look at HomeKit. This is a platform that allows makers of “smart home” devices to connect their thermostats and audio controllers with iDevices. This moves Apple squarely into the burgeoning market for home automation with a simple but powerful idea: Use one device to control all the “systems” in your home.
For example, you’ll soon be able to tell the iPhone’s built-in voice assistant, Siri, you’re going to bed, and she will tell your stereo to turn itself off, the thermostat to turn itself down and the alarm to set itself.
Lots of Room to Run
Last week’s announcement opens Apple up to two new tech sectors. In addition to unified computing, Apple is also moving, big time, into wearable tech.
The tech forecasters at IDC say the wearables market will grow at a compounded annual rate of 75% for the next several years. That means it will double roughly every 11 months.
Apple unveiled HealthKit as a way to make your smartphone an integral part of the up-and-coming wearable tech revolution. HealthKit is a platform for developers to write new health- and fitness-related apps, but and Apple went a step further by announcing its own new app, simply called Health.
The Health app will aggregate data that comes from multiple wearable health and fitness devices into a simplified data stream about your body. Apple says you’ll be able to tell the app to automatically contact your doctor or other health care provider if necessary.
Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting that Apple will enter the wearable market itself this fall with the much-anticipated iWatch.
Reuters says Apple expects to sell 3 million to 5 million units a month. Embedded with sophisticated sensors, the iWatch will monitor such key health metrics as blood-sugar levels, calories and sleep cycles.
Add it all up and you’re talking about a new paradigm in unified personal computing. And I believe Apple is the only firm that’s currently capable of making this dream a reality.
And it comes as Apple has made huge financial gains – resulting in a share-price rally.
In its most recent quarter, Apple said it sold 43.7 million iPhones, 15% more than the Street expected. It also announced $30 billion in new stock buybacks and an 8% increase in its dividend.
Of course, its 7-for-1 stock split took effect June 9. Investor optimism sent the shares up 1.6% to $93.70 on that first day of post-split trading. Since hitting a two-year closing low in April 2013, the stock is up 63%.
In a conversation we had last October, I predicted AAPL would go to $1,000 a share, or $142.85 post-split, in as little as three years.
That would represent a gain of about 52% gain from here.
I haven’t backed off that prediction. In fact, after this conference, I’m even more confident than I was before.
Apple is gathering momentum every day as it moves the technology landscape toward a world of truly unified computing for the masses.
Companies that are able to create that kind of long-term vision – and set the pace for the competition – are the wealth-creating investments we are always looking for.
That’s the kind of long-term vision that we should always be looking for as tech investors. It’s also why Apple has become the kind of foundational play we talk so much about here at Strategic Tech Investor.
You can own this type of stock for the long haul and count on it to help you build your net worth for years to come.
And you can bet that we’ll stay on the lookout for other plays of just this type. In fact, we’re already looking at several opportunities.
Keep checking back … we’ll be reporting on them very soon.
Stop back later this week …
- Strategic Tech Investor: “Why Apple Will Double From Here”