What's Up With Apple: Market Plunge Misses Apple, Watch Series 8 Rumors, and More

Only two stocks among the 30 Dow Jones industrials managed to post a share price increase on Tuesday. Drugmaker Merck added two cents (0.03%) a share, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) added $5.06 (3.16%). In Wednesday’s premarket trading, Apple stock was changing hands at a new all-time high of $167.85.

The S&P 500 and the Dow indexes both closed down by 1.9% and the Nasdaq closed down 1.6%. Every one of the 11 sectors closed lower. The day got started with a statement from Moderna’s CEO that current COVID-19 vaccines likely are less effective against the Omicron variant. Not good news. Then Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told the Senate Banking Committee that it’s time to stop using the word “transitory” to describe current inflation.

So, Apple, at least for one day, became a safe haven with a bit of an edge. That edge appears to be Apple’s ability to get the parts it needs to build more iPhones. In Tuesday’s report, we noted that Apple had surpassed Samsung to become the third-quarter market share leader in China. Taiwan-based data research firm TrendForce reported on Tuesday that iPhone production totaled 51.5 million units in the quarter, an increase of 22.6% compared to the same quarter last year.

The researchers also said that “Apple is staying with the plan to release its third-generation iPhone SE in 1Q22 and four models under a new series in 2H22.” TrendForce expects the new iPhone SE “to be a major instrument in helping Apple establish a presence in the market segment for mid-range 5G smartphones.” The firm estimates that Apple will manufacture 25 to 30 million of the new phones next year.

As for the current quarter, TrendForce expects Apple to snatch the top production spot from Samsung. Apple is projected to take 23.2% of the market this quarter, up more than seven percentage points, while Samsung’s share drops from 21.2% in the third quarter to 19.4% in the fourth quarter.

Changes in the Apple Watch Series 7 introduced in September were significant (bigger screen, faster charging) but a bit short on new health features. That will change with the expected release of an Apple Watch Series 8 next year, according to CNET.

Citing a September report in The Wall Street Journal, CNET’s list of possible features “include a thermometer to help with fertility planning (though in the future it might help with detecting fevers) as well as a blood-pressure monitoring.” Apple also may make a Watch with an even bigger screen next year, along with a model that comes in a rubberized and more rugged casing.

Briefly noted:

The U.K.’s Competition and Market Authority (CMA) on Tuesday announced that it had found Facebook/Meta’s 2020 acquisition of Giphy “would reduce competition between social media platforms and that the deal has already removed Giphy as a potential challenger in the display advertising market.” The CMA concluded that its concerns related to competition, “concerns can only be addressed by Facebook selling Giphy in its entirety to an approved buyer.” The company has four weeks to appeal the decision to the U.K.’s Competition Appeal Tribunal. While Apple does fewer acquisitions, its new advertising slots on the App Store’s search results page could be a red flag for anti-competitive enforcers.

Along with its list of Apple Music Award winners released on Tuesday, Apple also released a playlist of its most frequently streamed songs of 2021 and awards for the year’s best podcasts. The most-streamed song of last year was “Dynamite” by BTS and the best podcast of the year was “A Slight Change of Plans” with Maya Shankar.

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