Will Smaller and Cheaper iPad/iPhone Help Apple?

If you were just looking at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares, you might think that Monday March 21 was just another trading day. Well, what matters here is that this was an Apple product event/launch date. The question to ask is whether the product refresh versions actually matter?

Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled a smaller and cheaper version of the iPhone, the iPhone SE. This marks the second move into the mid-tier market for iPhones, and the price will start at $399.

Monday’s product launch showed that the new phone will run Apple Pay. It also will be powered by Apple’s A9 processor. This comes with a four-inch form factor.

Another boost came to the iPad family. Unfortunately for Cook and Apple’s shareholders, the iPad sales have been in decline for two years. The company will start selling a 9.7-inch iPad Pro version with expanded storage and capacity and starting at $599. That is more expensive, but other iPads will be cheaper.

Cook may be the most excited person about the Apple Watch. Unfortunately for Apple enthusiasts, Cook remains the most excited about the product. The price of the Apple Watch was cut by $50 to $299. New bands are being introduced as well, with multiple colors to accommodate the one-third of Apple Watch wearers who change their bands regularly.

One issue that did draw praise and loud clapping from the audience was Cook’s communication that he would maintain his stance and privacy fight against the FBI and Department of Justice attempt to force the company to unlock its products. Cook admitted that he was surprised to be at odds with the government over this matter.

Much of the excitement around Monday’s Apple event seems very muted compared to releases and launches in prior years. The reason is that it just wasn’t as exciting.

Apple shares were down 0.2% at $105.69 in late Friday afternoon. Apple has a consensus analyst price target of $134.13 and a 52-week range of $92.00 to $134.54.

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