Jobs Doesn't Wow? Wonderful!

For an Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) follower like me, it was the headline I never expected to see: "Jobs Fails to Wow at Macworld."

Really? Really.

Here's how one attendee of the show of shows for the iFaithful put it in an interview with Forbes: "Lame." Investors appear to agree. Shares of Apple were down more than 5% yesterday and are down today as I write.

Mr. Mac goes to Hollywood ... again
If I'm reading the press reports correctly, the worries from the Macworld trade show are:

  1. There was no announcement of a 3G iPhone or a deal with China Mobile (NYSE: CHL  ) .
  2. There was no "... and one more thing," a signature of most Jobs Macworld keynotes.

Are we really this juvenile? Has anyone actually given thought to what Apple didannounce yesterday?

Let's talk movies. Apple is taking another shot at Apple TV. Only this edition is cheaper than its predecessor, requires no connections to your Mac or PC, and can broadcast in high definition.

And it gets better. Just when everyone thought that Apple couldn't possibly broker a deal with the major movie studios, it did. Universal, Paramount, Lions Gate, MGM, and Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) have all agreed to open their libraries to iTunes. More than 1,000 movies will be available for rent come February. 

What's more, movies rented from iTunes will be available for any device. Play it on your TV or your iPhone; Apple doesn't care. All that's required is a connection to the iTunes store.

I've no idea exactly how big this business can be. What we do know is that Netflix's (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) disruption of the DVD rental business has created a company worth roughly $1.5 billion in market value. And we can be reasonably assured that TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO  ) and Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) didn't team up to gift-wrap the Unbox just for kicks.

There's a battle being waged over the living room. With yesterday's Macworld announcements, it ought to be obvious to, well, everyone that Apple intends to win.

But Mr. Market doesn't like Mr. Mac
Still, investors remain unconvinced that the Mac's daddy could be worth owning. They couldn't be more wrong. With just one business -- the iPhone -- Apple is on pace to double in size over the next five years.

Here's why:

  • Analysts at Needham & Co. generally expect the mobile handset market to grow by 9% a year to 2 billion units annually by 2016. With the global market for handsets up close to double that -- 17% -- in last year's second quarter, this estimate strikes me as reasonable.
  • Were Apple to meet its 2008 goal of 10 million iPhones sold, capturing 1% of the market, and then improve its market share to just 3.5% in 2012, that would result in 50 million iPhones sold that year. The iPhone grabbed more than 20% of the North American smartphone market in its first quarter of release so, again, this estimate strikes me as reasonable.
  • Assuming prices decline more than normal to, say, $299 per unit, the iEmpire stands to book around $15 billion in just iPhone handset sales in 2012.

Apple has collected $24 billion in revenue over the trailing 12 months. With Mac market share on the rise, with lucrative iPhone revenue-sharing deals with AT&T (NYSE: T  ) and others, and with a new-and-improved Apple TV, another $8.5 billion in 2012 revenue ought to be easy to find.

And if it is, it should also be easy for investors who buy Apple shares now to find a double (at least).


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