Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is still reasonably valued as investors are awaiting a new product line from the company. The iPhone 6, even if it is just a product refresh, will have an installed customer base of Apple enthusiasts who will likely replace their older-generation iPhones for the new one. In spite of the run-up in the company's stock price, Apple still trades at 13.6 times its fiscal 2015 earnings, and that is not an expensive stock. The large share repurchase activity will also contribute to Apple's earnings growth, which could push Apple stock above the $100 mark.
The widely anticipated iPhone 6 will likely be the major driver of Apple's fortunes in the upcoming months. Speculation of Apple coming up with a large-screen iPhone have gone mainstream, and the most overheard rumor seems to be that the company will be launching an iPhone with screen sizes ranging from 4.7 inches to 5.5 inches. Devices running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android already have a wide range of bigger screen sizes.
However, Apple has a large worldwide fan base that will jump to upgrade their current Apple device for the new iPhone, which is a major competitive advantage for Apple relative to Android-based phones. In the U.S., as customers see the end of their two-year contracts with various carriers, Apple's installed user base will rush to upgrade to the iPhone 6.
In addition, Apple might come up with product refreshes for the iPad line as well. Apple saw its iPad revenue trickle downward in the last quarter, so the company will likely focus on that area. Also, Samsung devices running on Android are increasingly becoming more popular on the tablet front, which gives Apple an even bigger reason to unveil an enhanced iPad device. According to IDC, Apple's tablet market share stood at 32.5%, but Samsung has been hot on its tail with 22.3% at the end of Q1 2014.
Apple is also rumored to be developing an iWatch, and if it does, the company will likely see a boost in its cumulative hardware sales. If Apple does come out with newer product categories like the iWatch, it will further engage its 800-million-plus registered iTunes users, driving software and services sales. Also, Apple came out with a new health tool that aids customers and doctors by tracking the health status of a patient. A smart watch from Apple is also likely to include this functionality, as Apple didn't unveil hardware for the Health kit.
More revenue streams
Investors and analysts alike have recently increased their expectations from the company's product pipeline. RBC Capital Markets' Amit Daryanani recently raised his price target on Apple from $96 to $100 per share. The analyst cited increased confidence in Apple's ability to come up with a very profitable iPhone 6 in this calendar year. He also stated that Apple will release the rumored iWatch this year.
Apple has taken numerous steps to grow its revenue streams. The company acquired Beats for $3 billion, which will give it a strong foothold in the hardware accessories business, along with two leading music executives, Dr. Dre. and Jimmy Iovine. Apple also made significant progress by inking a deal with China Mobile (NYSE:CHL), the world's largest cellular carrier, in early 2014.
China Mobile had more than 787 million telecom customers at the end of May 2014, and is rapidly investing in growing its 4G network. China Mobile expects to sell iPhones in almost 340 Chinese cities in the long-run. Coupled with growth in its 4G Network, that should lead to robust iPhone sales. Last quarter, Apple's revenue from China made up 20% of total revenue, and that should trend even higher over time.
Apple's revenue for fiscal 2015 is expected to be $194.5 billion, according to consensus estimates, which implies a revenue growth rate of 6.9%. The company's earnings per share for fiscal 2015 are forecasted to be $6.90, implying EPS growth of 9%. So, these newer forms of revenue for Apple will have a good impact on the company's top and bottom line in the future.
Apple's stock price can move up to $100 per share, even without a significant product launch. The company still trades at a reasonable valuation, even though the stock rallied prior to the stock split. The capital returns program will ensure that there is at least a small amount of growth in the quarterly EPS number and Apple's stock price should reach new all-time highs above $100 per share.