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Investment Overview for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
Below are key drivers of Apple's value that present opportunities for upside or downside to the current Trefis price estimate for Apple:
iPhone Pricing Power And Margins Hold Steady
- iPhone ASP and Gross Margin:
Apple has a strong history of disruptive innovation. If the company is able to launch truly revolutionary handsets rather than phones with incremental upgrades, it should be able to maintain or improve its pricing power over the long run. Additionally, Apple has invested considerably in building a more robust ecosystem around the iPhone - ranging from services such as Apple Pay to hardware like the Apple Watch - that could increase switching costs for the platform, helping it maintain pricing power. If Apple is able to maintain its iPhone gross margins and ASPs at levels of about 44% and $680 over the long-term – versus a decline according to our current valuation model– it could result in an upside of close to 15% from our current price estimate.
Android’s Progress In Premium Space Could Dent Valuation
- iPhone ASP and Market Share:
Android-based vendors are beginning to focus on improving design and aesthetics while adding unique features to handsets, while Google has been iteratively improving the overall software experience on Android (ex. Android Nougat). Vendors are also focusing on delivering high-end devices that command better pricing and cater to customers looking to upgrade in a saturating smartphone market. If this trend of Android vendors improving hardware, user experiences and design, backed up by Google’s solid software and services footprint, is able to reduce Apple’s mobile market share to about 8% – while reducing average pricing to $500 per unit and gross margins to 35% by the end of our review period – it could reduce our price estimate for Apple by close to 15%.
For additional details, select a driver above or select a division from the interactive Trefis split for Apple at the top of the page.
Apple makes money primarily by selling mobile phones, computers, and tablets to consumers worldwide. Apple's well known consumer products include the iPhone, Mac, iPad and the iPod media player. In addition to selling hardware, Apple makes money by brokering the sale of music, films, TV shows, games, and iPhone software applications through its iTunes platform. Apple introduced its first wearable computing device, called the Apple Watch in late 2014.
We believe the iPhone segment is more valuable than the Macintosh and iPad segments for two primary reasons:
Large mobile phone market
Gartner estimates that about 1.9 billion mobile phones were sold worldwide in 2015 compared to about 290 million PCs and 196 million ultra-mobile devices (Basic and Utility Tablets). Although Apple's iPhone market share remains quite small, the underlying market opportunity over the forecast period could be much larger.
High iPhone profit margins
We estimate that Apple's iPhone gross margins were about 45% in 2016, compared to around 22% for the Mac.
Increasing Competition and Saturation in High-end of Smartphone market
In June 2007, when Apple entered the then nascent smartphone market with the iPhone, Nokia and RIM were the only players in this segment. iPhone's success led to the entry of other players in the market, that has seen a huge spurt in demand in the recent years. Today, consumers have a huge array of smartphones to choose from, including premium Android smartphones from Samsung and Google and low cost manufacturers such as Lenovo and Xiaomi. While the smartphone market is expected to see high single digit growth in the near term, much of the sales are likely to come from low and mid-priced handsets in emerging markets, while the the high-end of the market - which Apple caters to - could become increasingly saturated. Apple posted a year-over-year decline in iPhone sales during FY'16. That said, 2017 is expected to be a strong year for the iPhone, as Apple is expected to unveil a completely redesigned handset.
Slowing iPad Shipments
Global tablet shipments declined by about 20% in Q4 2016, according to data from research firm IDC, driven by longer upgrade cycles for tablets and cannibalization from large screen smartphones. Apple has been impacted, with iPad shipments declining by about -14% in 2016, likely because of increasing tablet saturation in developed markets where high-end devices such as the iPad are more popular. Apple appears to be taking a two-pronged strategy with its tablet sales - focusing on both value tablets for casual users, while catering to professionals with its higher powered iPad Pro devices.
Growth In Enterprise Market
In mid-2014, Apple signed a deal with IBM that will see the two companies working together to further their enterprise mobility initiatives by bringing IBM’s cloud computing, big data and analytics capabilities to the iPhone and iPad. With the partnership, IBM will develop industry-specific apps and solutions for iOS devices, optimize its cloud services for the iOS platform and help with marketing Apple devices to enterprises. While Apple has been successfully increasing its presence in the enterprise space, the deal with IBM will give the company a more well-targeted push. IBM brings to the table decades of experience in understanding the needs of business customers and also has a sizeable sales force needed to cater to large corporations.
Mac Outperforms PC Industry
While the global PC market has been shrinking, Apple has largely been able to buck the trend given its superior product differentiation, proprietary Mac OS software and applications, sleek design and premium build-quality. Apple also benefits from the fact that it plays in the high end of the PC market – typically focusing on the lucrative $1,000+ price points – rather than the commoditized low and mid-range where a bulk of the volumes come from. During the 2015 holiday quarter, the company saw shipments grow by 2.8% per Gartner, while the broader PC market contracted by 8.3%.
Services Present A Growth Opportunity
Apple's services business has expanded significantly and the division is now Apple's second largest in terms of revenue, ahead of the Mac. While the App store remains the primary driver of growth, services such as Apple Music are also gaining traction. Apple Pay could also emerge a long-term growth driver, as mobile in-store payments in the U.S. are set to rise from around $2 billion in 2013 to around $189 billion by the year 2018, translating to a CAGR of about 148% according to BI Intelligence.
How Does Trefis Modelling Work?
How do we get the historical numbers for this chart?
Trefis has a team of in-house Analysts who gather historical data from company filings and other verifiable sources. When historicals are available, we explain how we got them at the bottom of the Trefis analysis section below.
Who came up with the Trefis forecast for future years?
The Trefis team of in-house Analysts considers a variety of factors when projecting any forecast. The rationale for our projections is explained in the Trefis analysis section below.
How does my dragging the trendline on the chart impact the stock price?
- We use forecasts for business drivers to calculate forecasted Revenues and Profits for each division of the company.
- We then use forecasted Profits in a Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model to obtain the Price Estimate for the company.
See more on: DCF Methodology
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