Just as when Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was hitting new highs daily, it’s clear momentum is now with those betting against this consumer products icon. Now it seems to hit new 52-week lows every day. Indeed, its current $420 price tag was last reached in January 2012, but at the time it was on the way up to its all-time intraday high of $705 a stub. The former golden child can’t do anything right these days, and it’s worthwhile to ask whether there are new lows in its future, or can it turn around from here?
Obviously there’s a lot to like about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Despite a lot of consternation about the pricing model it chose for its iPad Mini, the market researchers at NPD DisplaySearch say sales of the Mini are outpacing those of the iPad 2 by almost four-to-one. Mini shipments hit more than 5 million units in January from the month before while iPad 2s fell to 1.3 million from 7.4 million in December.
Obviously, the Mini hasn’t completely made up the difference between the two models, but it’s clear the higher price Apple chose for the smaller tablet isn’t the hurdle critics at first contended it would be. They might have sold a few more Minis had they gone with the lower pricing schedule, but they would have sacrificed margins, too. By selling more iPads of whatever stripe, it also blunts the ability of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s rivals to steal market share.
Eating their young
It’s estimated Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)‘s Nexus 7 tablet sold at most 4.8 million units in all of 2012, or less than the number of Minis Apple sold in January alone! So it doesn’t matter if the Mini cannibalizes the iPad 2, Apple is still getting the revenue instead of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (or someone else). As CEO Tim Cook says, “I see cannibalization as a huge opportunity for us. One, our base philosophy is to never fear cannibalization. If we do, somebody else will just cannibalize it and so we never fear it.”
Analysts initially anticipated Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) would ship 60 million iPad 2s and 40 million Minis, but now they believe the Mini will eclipse the larger display model 55 million to 33 million. While that seems like it’s selling fewer total iPads, it’s still 50% more than it sold in 2012 when they moved 58 million units. So don’t get caught up in the analysts’ numbers game; Apple continues moving the needle without giving up the profits.
Similarly, Wall Street is bearish about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone sales, with a Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR) (NYSE:CS) analyst breaking out the worry beads because he anticipates only 153 million units will be sold in 2013, even though that’s 26% more than it sold in 2012. With a new model expected out later this year and a lower-cost version possible for China, the probability it could surpass those numbers seems pretty good to me. Even the Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR) (NYSE:CS) analyst expects Apple to “return to its growing ways.”