As Apple Climbs Toward $1 Trillion Market Cap, Huge New Announcements and Projects Continue

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is on the verge of being the first $1 trillion market capitalization company, which is stunning when you consider at the turn of the century the stock was trading at $1.25, and some thought the company would head into bankruptcy. With Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) right behind Apple, it’s almost a given that we will have two $1 trillion market cap companies trading on the Nasdaq before the end of 2018.

One of the very best analysts on Wall Street who covers Apple is Sherri Scribner from Deutsche Bank, who almost always seems to have a little more insight into the company than her peers. In fact, she does a weekly piece for the firm called “Scribner’s Slice of Apple.” Despite her incredible depth of knowledge, she has a Hold rating on the shares of the tech giant, with a $165 price target, which is quite a bit lower than the current trading levels.

Given that Apple is a widely held company either held directly or through mutual funds and exchange traded funds, we thought this week’s data dump on the company was extremely interesting as Apple, like most of the mega-cap tech giants, looks to constantly expand its business, product and service lines.

1) Apple awarded $539M in total damages from Samsung. Samsung has been ordered to pay Apple a total of $539 million for patent infringement in the retrial of a 2012 damages verdict, according to Reuters. As Samsung already paid Apple $399 million in 2015 for damages related to the patents in question, the ruling suggests Samsung owes Apple an additional $140 million. As we wrote last week in Slices, Apple and Samsung’s multi-year legal battle culminated in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016 order for a $399 million damages retrial. It is unclear if Samsung will appeal the ruling.

2) Google is being sued by a group of iPhone users in the U.K. over privacy violations, according to the Guardian. The group is seeking 3.2 billion British pounds from Google for bypassing the privacy settings of Apple’s Safari browser and for the “clandestine tracking and collation” of 4.4 million users’ personal information.

3) To comply with the Europe Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) deadline, Apple has launched a new Data and Privacy website. The site allows Apple users to download all data the company has retained on its servers associated with an Apple ID account, as well as change, deactivate, or delete an Apple ID. The functionality is currently only available to users in the European Union but Apple plans to roll it out to users globally later this year.

4) Apple is reportedly considering launching a lower priced Beats-branded version of the HomePod, according to a Taiwanese supply chain source cited by The Inquirer. The device could be priced at $199, a considerable discount to the HomePod’s $349 retail price. The lower price could help improve the company’s market share in the smart speaker market, which is currently only 6%.

5) The global wearable band market grew by 35% year over year to 20.5 million units in the first quarter of 2018, driven by strong demand for health-centric devices, according to Canalys. Apple was the leading vendor in the market with 18% share while unit shipments of 3.8 million were flat year over year. Apple was just marginally ahead of the number two vendor, a large Chinese manufacturer, with 3.7 million unit shipments, and 18% share of the market. Fitbit came in third place with 11% share, followed by Garmin and Huawei with 7% and 6% shares, respectively.

6) Over 100 iPhone app developers have formed a group called “The Developers Union” to lobby Apple for App Store improvements, according to CNBC. The group’s main demand is to allow every app in the App Store to offer users a free trial period, versus the current policy which only permits subscription-based apps to offer free trials. The group may also seek to increase developers’ share of App Store revenue.

7) Apple will refund $50 to iPhone users who purchased out-of-warranty battery replacements for iPhone 6 or a newer models, from January 1 through December 28, 2017. However, users will receive refunds only if iPhone repairs were done by an authorized Apple service provider. The decision follows disclosures in December that Apple deliberately slowed the performance of older iPhones to manage battery consumption.

So another busy week for what is, at least for the time being, the world’s biggest company by market cap. Scribner’s team digs every week to make sure investors have the most up-to-date information on the tech behemoth. With the Apple nation always looking for what’s new at the company, Deutsche Bank consistently delivers.