Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Screened: Recent reports that Apple (AAPL) is planning to use sapphire displays on its next generation iPhone were boosted on Wednesday when Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said that Apple had “snapped up” a massive mount of sapphire displays, GigaOM notes. Shuttleworth’s comments came during a conference call discussing Canonical’s plans to launch a smartphone running on Linux Ubuntu. He said that Apple had acquired “three year’s worth of the supply of sapphire screens from the company that we had engaged to make the screens” for Canonical’s planned Edge smartphone. Apple has partnered with GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) to build a new sapphire component plant in Mesa, Ariz. According to recent reports, that facility is poised to produce up to 200 million sapphire displays per year. A number of analysts have suggested that Apple with replace the current glass displays on upcoming iPhones with scratch-resistant sapphire screens. Apple already uses sapphire components in the cameras and Touch ID sensors on the iPhone 5s.
Verified: During an interview on Bloomberg TV, Tesla Motors (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk confirmed recent reports that he had met with Apple officials, Business Insider noted. Musk declined to say whether the talks centered around “any kind of acquisition,” but said that a sale of Tesla Motors was “very unlikely” because he wanted the company to concentrate on developing a mass market electric car and an acquisition might distract from the goal. When prompted, Musk said he thought it would be a “great idea” for Apple to get into the automotive market. Tesla shares rose sharply earlier this week after news of the meeting — reportedly between Musk and Apple’s head of acquisitions — circulated.
Less Confident: A major global investment firm cut its rating for Apple shares, AppleInsider notes. Barclay’s Capital downgraded Apple from “Overweight” to “Equal Weight” with a “Neutral” outlook and a price target of $570 a share. Apple shares fell more than 1% on the news. Barclays analyst Ben A. Reitzes told investors to “step aside””from Apple stock. Reitzes said that Apple stock was unlikely to rise significantly in the absence of a revolutionary new product. He also noted that smartphone sales are slowing in developed markets as the industry matures, putting pressure on Apple’s future earnings growth. He pointed to recent reports suggesting that the much-anticipated iWatch would function as an accessory to the iPhone, arguing that “Apple’s story is all about iPhones and ‘new categories’ seem to be designed to make the iPhone more useful.” Such accessories would not “move the needle” for Apple stock the way past new products did.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.