Analyst Sees 3-D Printer in Apple’s Future



Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) notorious secrecy combined with CEO Tim Cook’s repeated promises to introduce new product categories in 2014 has raised speculation about the Cupertino-based company’s plans to a fever pitch this year. Much of the recent speculation has centered on rumors about a wrist-worn wearable tech device that has been dubbed the “iWatch.” Other rumors have focused on an iPhone-based mobile payments service or the mythical “iTV.”

However, Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry offered his own unique Apple product prediction in a recent conversation with Benzinga. According to Chowdhry, Apple is developing a 3-D printer — a device that can create three-dimensional objects via an additive manufacturing process. Chowdhry also claimed that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) was developing its own 3-D printer after learning that Apple was making one.

“It’s either Apple or Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) [that inspired Google]. But developers feel that Apple is probably the focus for Google because Google considers Apple to be its prime competitor, not Microsoft,” Chowdhry told Benzinga. “And Google really sees Apple to be a strong competitor, not Microsoft, because Microsoft has a lot of issues to worry about.”

Although it is not inconceivable that Apple would be exploring the burgeoning 3-D printer market, the Global Equities Research analyst appeared to offer little proof beyond his knowledge of Google’s 3-D printer plans and Apple’s hardware expertise. Chowdhry also noted that Apple’s interest in 3-D printing has been documented in its patents.

“Apple does have intellectual property [in that space],” Chowdhry told Benzinga. “And they often have more expertise in hardware development than, say, Microsoft has.”