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Apple Could Be About to Unveil Its Next Revolutionary Product

Is Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) finally about to introduce new hardware? According to a report from 9to5Mac, Apple will unveil a new device next month at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). The report doesn't specify which piece of hardware in particular Apple plans to unveil, but there are few notable possibilities, all of which could send shares of Apple moving.

Macbook Air with Retina display
9to5Mac believes this is the most likely possibility. Investors, however, would probably find it disappointing. Although Apple's Mac business has been doing well in recent quarters, steadily growing its market share even in the face of a wider PC contraction, the Mac business is just not materially important to Apple's bottom line.

Last quarter, it generated about 11% of Apple's revenue, a paltry figure compared to much more significant products like the iPhone and iPad, which, cumulatively, accounted for more than 70% of Apple's revenue. iTunes, a secondary function of iOS sales, generated just as much revenue as Macs.

That isn't to say that a Retina display-equipped Macbook Air would be a bad thing -- Apple's competitors in the space are increasingly offering super high-definition displays on their Ultrabooks. The recently unveiled Surface 3, for example, comes equipped with 2160x1440 resolution display, far superior to the Macbook Air's standard 1366x768. Bumping the resolution on the Macbook Air, then, is necessary to remain competitive.

A new product category?
What would be far more exciting, and much more likely to propel shares higher, would be the unveiling of an entirely new product category, perhaps the long-anticipated iWatch.

It's quite clear that Apple plans to release an iWatch at some point in the near future, given the flurry of various media reports on the device, and the long list of health-related experts Apple has hired. Nike's decision to back out of wearable hardware suggests that it knows Apple is planning to enter the space in the near future (Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, sits on Nike's board).

But an iWatch, assuming it interfaces with the iPhone, may require an update to iOS. New iOS revisions, in turn, generally accompany the release of the latest iPhone, an event that usually happens in the fall. Investors may wish for something revolutionary to be unveiled, but shouldn't get their hopes up.

An upgraded Apple TV?
Another possibility would be an upgraded Apple TV. The device is on its third revision, but hasn't seen a major update in more than two years. Several competitors have emerged since then, including the FireTV and the Chromecast, and though the Apple TV is selling well (it did more than $1 billion in revenue last year) Apple may be in danger of being surpassed.

Although it has a bevy of entertainment apps, Apple TV does not offer direct access to Apple's app store, a feature that could completely revolutionize the device. Unveiling a new version of the Apple TV with an operating system that included app store support would make sense at an event that caters primarily to iOS developers.

Past reports about a full-fledged Apple TV have claimed that Apple would introduce the product several months before its release, perhaps in an effort to give developers time to prepare. Even if the next Apple TV didn't offer voice commands or gesture controls, or similar such smart TV features, adding app store support could be a huge opportunity, particularly as iTunes revenue (driven primarily by mobile games) continues to grow at a rapid pace.

Apple needs new hardware
With Apple's brand value slipping, the company may need to unveil new hardware in the near future. Cook has promised to launch several new products in 2014, but so far, nothing major has been unveiled.

If Apple does unveil something revolutionary next month, expect shares to rip higher. Something less interesting, like a revised Macbook Air, should still be welcomed, but is unlikely to garner as much investor enthusiasm.

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Read/Post Comments (12) | Recommend This Article (62)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2014, at 3:25 PM, HuFlungDung wrote:

    Hmm, so if I could summarize your ... ahem, article, it would be "I really don't have anything new to say!".

    Would that be incorrect?!

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2014, at 5:28 PM, babyleg wrote:

    I am amazed that the writers of articles are fixated on iWatches and smart TV's. That is not revolutionary or new. As a matter of fact watches are for the very few techno geeks and not for the masses. I am yet to know anyone that owns a Samsung to Sony watch. Secondly, Apple TV and the like already turn those flat panel TV's into smart TV's. If the have something it will be along the lines of what the iPad was in new technology. Otherwise they need to pick up their toys and go home. But, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2014, at 6:02 PM, ectogamit wrote:

    So their first revolutionary product. Cool

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2014, at 7:50 PM, johnnysnutsack wrote:

    The motley tools are pure amateurs. Awful investing advice and now apparently are in the business of bogus headlines.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2014, at 7:51 PM, johnnysnutsack wrote:

    PS. They screen comments and filter anything that is negative about motley tools.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2014, at 8:01 PM, skippywonder wrote:


    How many people did you know who had tablets of any kind by any manufacturer until Apple released the iPad? That is closer to the form Apple is likely to repeat with wearable tech. The tablet was not new. Apple merely made the first tablet that wasn't horrible. Because it was light and useful and even more affordable than most previous tablets, it caught fire.

    If Apple does an iWatch it will bear little resemblance to the "techno-geek" gadgets that are currently available. It will be well designed and perform its tasks well.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2014, at 9:04 PM, Vitabrits wrote:

    Clickbait and nothing more. Retina display, really? Apple TV will suck when SMART TVs already exist. Only the sheeple will give into the $1k markup that is Apple.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2014, at 9:15 PM, OSXX wrote:

    One thing this writer does not realize it not the hardware its the OS on the hardware that will make any device popular, go back in history and the BlackBerry did it for phone and then apple came along with a better OS and screen but it was still a phone. Simplicity is the key to any successful gadget.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2014, at 10:49 PM, printthis wrote:

    So what the fool is saying is that they were wrong early this year about PC sales and apple yet again behind times. He must own apple stock. This guy been wrong so many times and the top secret project is what? .. WOW how does this guy even got a job. A 5th grader could come up with better stories.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2014, at 11:55 PM, StockgeniusII wrote:

    My guess is that it is Apple TV!

    It like the article states - going on more then two years(April) without a new update while Amazon and Roku and Google have done multiple updates and new UBS sticks while Apple TV is now kind of obsolete with a square box and limited power and connectivity and features, services compare to all of the competitors.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2014, at 1:32 AM, ocpw wrote:

    Since we are talking about the WWDC where product announcements will generally mean new opportunities for developers I am guessing the announcement will be for a product running iOS. What if Apple took one of its OSX products and introduced iOS on a partitioned SSD and gave it the capability to run side by side with OSX Mavericks. Like a 10 or 11 inch MacBook Air with a touch capable Retina display. The Surface Pro falls short of what it could be and almost costs as much as a 11 inch MacBook Air. A mobile capable Air hybrid device would beat the hell out of the Surface Pro and add a brand new dimension to ultrabook production capability without screwing with OSX. Except perhaps in cross platform scrolling.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2014, at 8:44 AM, Ostrowsr wrote:

    Nice to dream but the reality is that Apple has been using their $Billions to do a lot of research (and development) over the last 3 years. New things will come when they come. They have the resources to check everything to make sure 1. It's the best in class, and 2. It will sell $Billions worth of the product(s). All this other "analysis" is mostly noise.

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Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

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Sam Mattera

Sam has a love of all things finance. He writes about tech stocks and consumer goods.

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