Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Trend-Setter: When Apple (AAPL) unveiled its 64-bit A7 processor in the iPhone 5s last year, some rival smartphone makers called it a gimmick, but now the mobile industry appears to be following Apple’s lead, CNET notes. During a conference discussing Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSM) quarterly results, TSM CEO Mark Liu said that “in the past six months we do see the…conversion to 64-bit [in processors] after the Apple [64-bit A7 processor] announcement.” In the wake of Apple’s surprise release of the 64-bit A7 chip, other mobile chip makers — including Qualcomm (QCOM) and MediaTek — scrambled to develop their own 64-bit processors. In February, Samsung said it was developing a 64-bit processor, conceding that there is a “real demand” for 64-bit chips. Liu noted that the surge in demand for 64-bit chips was driving orders for 28-nanometer and 20-nanometer TSM chips in 2014 and 2015. Recent rumors indicate that TSM — along with traditional Apple chip supply partner Samsung — will produce at least some of Apple’s next-generation A8 chip, which is expected to appear in the upcoming iPhone 6 and new iPads later this year. Perhaps hinting at the launch of the A8 chip, another TSM executive noted that TSM was seeing “one of the largest mobilizations in semiconductor history,” employing 4,600 engineers and 2,000 operators in two fabrication plants.
Forecast: On Thursday, one Wall Street bank predicted that Apple shares will soar later this year amid a flurry of new product launches and advised investors to buy Apple stock now, AppleInsider noted. Morgan Stanley (MS) has issued a strong recommendation to purchase Apple stock. MS has set a price target of $630 for Apple stock, which currently trades around $524 per share. MS analyst Katy Huberty estimates that Apple sold about 38 million iPhones during the March quarter. She expects Apple to posted earnings of $10.80 a share on quarterly revenue of $44.5 billion when it reports quarterly results next week. Huberty says that between 2010 and 2013, Apple boosted R&D spending by more than 30% a year. Historically, higher periods of R&D spending herald the launch of new products, including the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Huberty thinks that Apple is pouring at least some of that spending in to brand new product categories, possibly including its long-rumored smartwatch and a major new mobile payment system. Most analysts — including KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo — expect Apple to release its iWatch this fall. A growing number of analysts have speculated that Apple could leverage the fingerprint reader found on the iPhone 5s to provide security for a mobile payment system. Huberty also notes that institutional ownership of Apple shares has fallen to a five-year low.
Timing: It may take Angela Ahrendts longer than expected to joint Apple, the Guardian notes. The Burberry (BBRYF) CEO announced last October that she would leave the British apparel maker to take a position at the technology giant. Though Ahrendts will complete her six-month notice period this month, she will be eligible to collect bonuses worth £8m if she stays at Burberry until June. Burberry has not announced an official exit date for Ahrendts, which has provoked speculation that she may be “wrangling” with Burberry over the exact date. Burberry’s Chief Creative Director Christopher Bailey has been tapped to succeed Ahrendts. One analyst noted that Burberry investors would be reassured to see Ahrendts stay on a little longer to oversee the transition. Burberry is also reportedly contemplating a major change to its Japanese business unit, which Ahrendts may wish to oversee.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.