Apple’s News Week in Review: iPad 3 Expected in February

Never at a loss for corporate news, it was another busy week for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Here’s a few highlights.

Coming in February: the iPad 3

Perhaps the biggest news for Apple and even timely, is Apple’s speculated release of the iPad 3 in February 2012. This falls in line with the company’s launch dates for previous models.

In a research note by Richard Gardner, Citigroup Global Markets, he writes, “Several sources have confirmed the timing of this launch and there do not appear to be any significant technical hurdles remaining (contrary to some recent press reports).”

He added that the new tablet will have improved resolution including the doubling of its current dpi level (dots per inch).

This news should alleviate concerns about supply chain delays from the Thai floods.

Fortune’s Top 10 for 2012

Apple’s stock again made Fortune’s 10 best stocks for 2012. It represents the new list’s only carryover from 2011.

So what are some of Fortune’s reasons to include Apple as a repeat offender?

  • Analysts expect Apple’s 2012 earnings per share to increase 30 percent.
  • In the markets where Apple makes a majority of its money,  including smartphones and tablets, they are still growing. Gartner Research has projected the tablet market to increase from 64 million units in 2011 to 326 million by 2014. Smartphone sales are also expected to rise 33% in 2012, according to Bernstein Research. Apple’s iPhone also has a lot of  potential in China.
  • Speculation has increased that Apple will finally pay a dividend.
New iMac to have TV functionality
Apple’s next generation iMac is expected to come out in 2012’s first half and it now may come with TV functionality. Apple TV had long been a dream of Apple’s Steve Jobs. Maybe it will now become a reality.
In a report by Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair on Wednesday, he sees the iMac moving toward the TV market on its large screen sizes by including Apple TV and iCloud components into the PC.
Blair writes,

We think this makes sense because while we typically think about the newest TVs hanging on the wall in large form factors, Apple could effectively start with what they already have on the manufacturing line and slowly push their offering from 27 inches and scale up from there to 32 inches and then move on to the 42, 50 and 55 inch market,” he writes. “In short, we believe the initial Apple TV is their iMac computer that can function as a TV, over the iCloud platform.

Apple iPhone Sales Remain Strong

AT&T (NYSE:T) reported on Wednesday that in the the fourth quarter’s first two months, its smartphone sales reached 6 million, nipping on the heels of its 6.1 million record for a quarter. The company now expects to break the smartphone sales record.

It can thank Apple for its strong sales numbers. The company’s iPhones still dominate AT&T’s sales with a 2.7 million activation number in the third quarter, leading all over smartphone sales put together.

But keep in mind, these numbers don’t include the new iPhone 4s.

On Friday, Apple closed up 0.76% to 393.62.