Is Apple Ready to Branch Out?

Some more fodder was added to the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rumor fire after investment firm RBC Capital Markets said it expected at least two revamped products from the company this year. RBC analyst Amit Daryanani wrote in a note to investors that Apple was likely to revamp its MacBook line later this quarter and release a new iPhone in September or October, both predictions that largely mirror expectations from other commentators.

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Daryanani expects a new MacBook Pro as early as next month and an updated version of the MacBook Air in the next 6 months. Apple is thought to be using Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC) next-generation Ivy Bridge processors in its new portables. The analyst believes the Mac lineup will grow 10-15 percent on an annual basis.

He also said that the next generation of the company’s “flagship product”, the iPhone, will come equipped with 4G LTE technology and a redesigned look, with the product likely being available in the late summer or early fall time frame. The analyst also wrote that a two-year design cycle from the iPhone from Apple could create increased seasonality for the device. “In our view, a redesigned version of the iPhone every two years will likely result in higher unit sales relative to the iPhone ‘S’ versions as carrier contracts last roughly 2 years and consumers have historically been attracted to the new design concepts created by Apple,” he wrote.

Daryanani noted that Apple saw just 21 percent growth in iPhone shipments year over year in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to 91 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The note also predicted Apple stock to hit $700 mark within the next 6 to 12 months, spurred by the new products as well as a sustained momentum of iPad sales.

The analyst also had an opinion on the rumored television set from the company, saying the device made “strategic sense” for the company even though there were worries that the product may drag on Apple’s margins. Daryanani predicts Samsung, LG, and Sony (NYSE:SNE) as the companies that will get hurt the most if Apple were to launch an industry changing TV product. RBC expects Apple to sell 10 million units of the rumored device in the first 12 months for $15 billion in revenue and $1.77 in earnings per share.

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