Apple (AAPL) hosted its April event today (replay here), the first product launch event of the year for the tech juggernaut. While we are providing the key takeaways from the event here, members interested in diving deeper can use the provided links and check out the press releases associated with each announcement. To kick things off, CEO Tim Cook announced few incremental updates on the Apple Card, Podcast app and iPhone.
On the Apple Card, Apple unveiled "Apple Card Family" (press release) which will allow families to share one card and provide the ability for two people to co-own an Apple card and share/merge credit lines while building credit together, equally. Parents can also now share their card with children while providing optional spending limits.
The Podcast app (press release) is also getting a facelift and a subscription model (members know how much we love subscriptions) that will give subscribers access to exclusive curated content, ad-free listening and more.
The iPhone (press release) update was minimal but for those looking for something a bit more eye catching, the iPhone 12 now comes in purple - not exactly a breathtaking update but worth noting.
With those smaller updates out of the way, let's get to the real news of the day!
"Find My," the platform used to help find lost devices also got an upgrade in the form of "AirTag," a keychain-like dongle that can attach to most physical items, be picked up by the Find My app and direct users to the precise location of their misplaced item. Importantly - and this is a big one given Apple's effort to be the viewed as the mega cap tech company most intensely focused on user privacy - Apple included industry first safety features to protect again unwanted tracking (think someone slipping the device into another's bag, car, etc.) include "unwanted tag detection." Per the company's press release, "iOS devices can also detect an AirTag that isn't with its owner, and notify the user if an unknown AirTag is seen to be traveling with them from place to place over time. And even if users don't have an iOS device, an AirTag separated from its owner for an extended period of time will play a sound when moved to draw attention to it."
We also got a look at upcoming content on AppleTV and learned that AppleTV 4K (press release) is getting an upgrade in the form of an A12 Bionic chip, providing more power and the ability to play higher definition content, such as those 60fps videos users may have captured on their new iPhone 12 - all via AirPlay. The upgraded model will also automatically adjust colors based on TV settings so users can just sit back and watch high quality, color corrected content automatically. The device also comes with an updated Siri remote that provides for better tracking and the ability to control one's TV.
As for the Mac (press release), management spoke to the company's new M1 processors and how developers have been leveraging the new technology to provide even better user experiences. However, the real news was the introduction an all-new completely redesigned, incredibly thin iMac - the first Mac built from the ground up to harness the power of the M1 chip, making it up to 85% faster than prior generations! It is also available in a variety of colors (seven to be exact). Thanks to the M1, the computer is not only slimmer and faster but also more energy efficient (allowing it to run more quietly), packs a better camera, more microphones, higher quality speakers and fits a 24-inch, 4.5K retina display (up from 21.5-inches on the prior generation). The computer wasn't the only thing that got an update, the new keyboard will also feature Apple TouchID, allowing for secure access while removing the need to memorize countless passwords.
Of course, the Mac wasn't the only product line to get an update, the iPad Pro (press release) also got a big upgrade in the form of its own M1 chip - allowing for "next level performance," allowing for everything from better image editing to console level gaming graphics and innovative augmented reality applications. On the storage front, new models will also come with a 2TB storage option. For those power users on the go, Apple has you covered as new models will also be available in a 5G cellular option. The rear facing pro cameras leverage the new M1 chip to support Smart HDR 3 imaging and can utilize an advanced image signal processor and LiDAR scanning to help in low-light situations. The front facing camera also got an upgrade in the form of an all-new 12mp Ultra Wide camera with "Center Stage" that can track users as they move throughout the room - not unlike what we've seen from Facebook's (FB) Portal devices. Rounding out the updates, Apple unveiled the Liquid Retina XDR display for the iPad Pro, an iPad version of the company's incredible high-definition Pro Display XDR. That display is definitely going to come in handy when gaming, especially considering that the new devices will support next-gen gaming console controllers - so users can take that fancy PlayStation 5 controller and use it to game on the go with their new iPads.
All in, this was another solid event from Apple, however, as is usually the case when these events come around, we are seeing a "sell the news" reaction playout in the stock as much of what we saw today was already expected by investors. We aren't reading into the price action too much as the event ultimately served to support our "own, don't trade" view of the company's stock. The AppleTV, iMac and iPad updates bolstered our view that the company's product line-up is best-in-class while the addition of a Podcast subscription serves to add an additional recurring revenue stream to Apple's higher margin Services revenue stream, while the introduction of AirTag devices can provide a boost to accessories sales while strengthening the hold of the company's ecosystem and competitive moat.