More consumers are interested in Apple's (AAPL 0.74%) new wireless AirPods than you might think, according to a new survey by Bank of America's investment arm Bank of America Merrill Lynch (via Business Insider). The same survey also suggested the company's second-generation Apple Watch could lead to more growth in the nascent segment. Will these two products be what Apple needs to help revenue turn upward again?
Polling 1,000 consumers
Though Apple's Sept. 7 event was focused primarily on its newest iPhones -- the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus -- it may be AirPods and Apple Watch Series 2 that investors should be thankful for. BAML's poll of 1,000 U.S. consumers regarding purchase intentions for the two devices suggests they could generate accretive revenue.
AirPods: In line with Apple's removal of the headphone jack from its newest iPhone, the company announced its first-ever Apple-branded wireless headphones at its September event. The headphones' premium price tag of $159 is high enough to provide a small boost to Apple's bottom line if even just a fraction of customers buy them. But would a fraction of Apple's customers even be interested?
As it turns out, a surprising 12% of survey respondents indicated they intend to purchase AirPods. Applying this purchase intent rate to Apple's U.S. installed base, this new product could generate $3 billion in incremental revenue for the company, BAML pointed out. While $3 billion would only represent about a $1.4% increase to Apple's annual revenue, small increases like this are notable in light of the stock's conservative valuation.
Apple Watch Series 2: Despite the fact that the second generation of Apple's new smartwatch only received internal upgrades -- and the exterior remained the same -- there's still meaningful interest in the updated version. Eight percent of respondents said they planned to buy the Watch Series 2.
Meaningful interest in the Apple Watch Series 2 is particularly notable because of the uncertainty surrounding this new product segment for Apple. It's not clear yet if wearable technology can turn into a meaningful business for the company. If BAML's estimates of purchase intent by U.S. consumers for the Apple Watch Series 2 is somewhat close to reality, the updated version of the device could be enough to help the segment continue growing meaningfully during fiscal 2016.
But Apple still needs the iPhone
While these segments could help provide the icing on the cake for Apple investors, the company will need the iPhone to hold its own for this potential upside revenue from its AirPods and Apple Watch to actually feel like a bonus. The iPhone accounted for a staggering 57% of the company's revenue in its most recently reported quarter. If the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus can't prevent a further decline in iPhone sales, accretive revenue from smaller, newer product segments simply won't be enough to return the tech company to growth.
Fortunately, Apple's paltry price-to-earnings ratio of 13 means all Apple needs from its iPhone segment is for it to maintain current levels. Other new products and services can do the rest of the work needed for the stock's price today to make sense. Of course, this is easier said than done.
Whether Apple's critical iPhone segment returns to growth in the near future or not, it's good to see budding areas with potential to supplement the company's revenue and bottom line.