Apple Market Cap Up $30 Billion in Q1

After taking a beating much of the past year, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) added $30 billion to its market cap in the first quarter of this year as its performance handily outstripped the Nasdaq. All the improvement came after Apple launched the iPhone SE.

The increase in Apple’s market cap was modest, up nearly 5%, compared to a Nasdaq performance just short of 2%. However, with a current market cap of $610 billion, the quarter’s improvement translates to $30 billion.

The argument for the new product put forward by Apple is as follows:

Welcome to iPhone SE, the most powerful 4‑inch phone ever. To create it, we started with a beloved design, then reinvented it from the inside out. The A9 is the same advanced chip used in iPhone 6s. The 12‑megapixel camera captures incredible photos and 4K videos. And Live Photos bring your images to life. The result is an iPhone that looks small. But lives large.

The iPhone SE appears to have quieted critics who believed that consumers would wait for the iPhone 7 launch in the fall, as the iPhone 6 family has started to age. Analysts expect iPhone 6 sales for the most recent quarter to be 50 million, which is well shy of the nearly 75 million that Apple sold in the quarter that ended December 26.

In many ways, the iPhone SE is a Hail Mary. It moves Apple out of the ultra-high-end smartphone market. The base product is for sale for $399 on the Apple site. The iPhone 6s Plus has a price of $749. Apple’s brand may be damaged by moving down market.

The two events that could swing Apple’s share price up or down in the next six months are the launch of the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 6 and iPhone SE sales in the next quarter.