Apple Recap: Low-Cost Questions, iWatch Buzz, Australia Wants Answers

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) managed to continue its run into the green from Friday by closing just above 1 percent higher on Monday at $479.93. There was some more discussion about the possibility of a lower-cost iPhone from the company, with two conflicting viewpoints. Meanwhile, on Tuesday chief executive Tim Cook is scheduled to speak at Goldman Sachs’ technology conference before sitting with Michelle Obama in the First Lady’s box for the President’s State of the Union address later in the night.

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Here are the top stories that created the buzz around Apple on the day:

A Low-Cost iPhone or Not?

Topeka Capital’s Brian White wrote in a research note that Apple was almost certain to unveil a cheaper iPhone device around the mid-year mark. The research firm discovered several unreleased iPhone prototypes during its market research at the end of last year and added that it believed the device was set to give Apple a bigger play in several high-potential markets, including China, Brazil, Russia, and India. But White’s assertions, the details of which can be read here, were in opposition to comments from Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves.

Hargreaves said the possibility of the existence of a new, low-cost iPhone was a bad one for Apple and will not only result in a loss of status for the company, but also the cannibalization of its much higher-margin sales. Such a device would violate Apple’s “core operating principles,” according to Hargreaves, because there was not “a single thing that a low-priced iPhone would do better than the current iPhones…” (Read more)

Look Out for iWatch

Meanwhile, it was reported that Apple was experimenting with a wristwatch-like smart device made of curved glass in its research and development labs and had even discussed it with its main manufacturing partner, Hon Hai Precision Industry. The device, straight from science fiction movies, would operate on Apple’s iOS platform. Sarah Rotman Epps, a Forrester analyst who specializes in wearable computing and smartphones, said Apple had made a lot of hiring in that specific area recently and was potentially the “biggest player of the wearables market in a sort of invisible way…” (Read more)

Australia Wants Answers

In some bad news for Apple, it is among three companies to have received subpoenas to be present at a March 22 public hearing of the Australian government and address allegations of unfair pricing practices. Australia’s House Committee on Infrastructure and Communications summoned Apple, along with Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), to explain why their products sell at a much higher premium in that country compared to international prices. The probe first launched in July last year… (Read more)

Don’t Miss: Analyst: A Cheaper iPhone Is A Terrible Idea.