It is barely two years ago that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) became worth $1 trillion based on market valuation. Other companies have followed it, such as Microsoft and Alphabet. Apple is currently worth $1.4 trillion. Based on its new earnings report, its valuation may not be even close to a potential top.
Apple blew by estimates as it released numbers for its holiday quarter, which ended December 28. Renewed interest in its iPhone, which had tapered off in previous quarters, was the primary driver. Overall, Apple’s revenue rose to $92 billion, a record, up 9% from the same period a year ago. Earnings increased by 19% to $4.99 per share. Beyond the iPhone, Apple management pointed to its wearables business and rapidly growing services business. Services revenue reached nearly $13 billion. Executives at Apple have often pointed to this as the wave of Apple’s future.
As for the immediate future, some experts believe that Apple TV+ will do well in the streaming wars as it adds new, original content. The new U.S. trade deal with China means that Apple will not have to pay more for certain components in its products. The levies could have added $150 to the cost of some of its computers and smartphones. There are rumors that Apple will release as many as six models of the iPhone 12, some of which will work with new, superfast 5G networks. These releases likely will happen in September.
In particular, it is the launch of Apple TV+ that is considered a major driver of Apple’s services future. Apple already has a huge music store. Its app store is by far the largest in the industry. By some estimates, more than 130 billion apps have been downloaded since the store began. Many experts believe that app sales cannot continue to grow at rates they have over the past decade. So video streaming becomes an essential part of the expansion of this multimedia business.
All this means that Apple’s bet on TV is absolutely critical. At $4.99 for the first month, after a seven-day free trial, the service is aggressively priced compared to industry leaders Amazon and Netflix, which have price points of $12.99 a month. Apple’s management has gambled that, although its library of content is limited compared to the two leaders, the low price, the Apple brand and the hundreds of millions of iPhones, iPads and Macs in the world are a huge base to which it can market its streaming service. A JPMorgan analyst recently predicted that Apple TV+ and Apple’s ad business would add $25 billion in revenue in 2025.
Apple stock has more than doubled in the past year, which is extraordinary for a company with such a high market value already. Some analysts think the share price could rise another 20%, which would put its market cap at $1.7 billion. With stellar new earnings out, some new forecasts will be above that. Another quarter or two of higher than expected earnings, and a successful launch of the iPhone 12, could push Apple’s valuation to $2 trillion.