Analyst sees quantitative proof of the iPod halo effect

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Following yesterday's Apple earnings announcements, Merrill Lynch said it sees "quantitative proof" that the popularity of the iPod is transitioning into new Mac sales, as Mac revenue increased by 29% year over year during the company's March quarter.



In a research note released to clients on Thursday and obtained by AppleInsider, analyst Steve Milunovich said Apple beat his firm's "best-case scenario" but only with the help of unsustainable margin expansion. "We figured Apple could report up to $0.30 best case yet it hit $0.34. There was 6-7 cents of unlikely-to-recur margin benefit in a high gross margin and depressed R&D."



The analyst said the iPod is bringing new users to the Apple family, which is benefiting not only Mac sales but also peripherals and software. He believes the next change in perception could be that Apple is building a sustainable consumer franchise.



"iPod and now Mac success has been underestimated by the market," Milunovich said. "Now investors need to stand back and consider whether Apple has created a pattern of introducing creative products to a consumer hungry for easy-to-use technology."



Going forward, Merrill Lynch believes Apple is likely to beat guidance, but not by much. With supply of Apple's hottest products now in sync with demand and the gross margin likely to decline sequentially, the firm says June guidance of 28 cents per share is "more realistic." Still, Milunovich said some upside is visible and raised his fiscal year 2005 estimates from $1.05 to $1.30 and 2006 estimates from $1.30 to $1.55.



Merrill Lynch reiterated a 'Buy' rating on Apple with a price objective of $51 per share. The firm noted that Apple stock broke its 50-day moving average, which could cause short-term underperformance.



"But in a growth sector lacking growth, we think investors will be attracted to Apple," Milunovich said. "Valuation is attractive, in our view, with the stock at 27X our new F2006 estimate."



Apple stock this afternoon was down 7.5% or $3.08 on extremely heavy volume.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    The only Halo I want to see is a Mac version of the Microsoft owned (Halo 2)game. I have 4 friends who bought iPods in the last 2 weeks. FOUR. None of them want a Mac. Even if they *did* their Windows iPod would have to be re-formatted etc....



    iPod good. Halo? Questionable.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    flounderflounder Posts: 2,674member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Not Unlike Myself

    The only Halo I want to see is a Mac version of the Microsoft owned (Halo 2)game. I have 4 friends who bought iPods in the last 2 weeks. FOUR. None of them want a Mac. Even if they *did* their Windows iPod would have to be re-formatted etc....



    iPod good. Halo? Questionable.




    You do realize an anecdotal sample of 4 people doesn't mean squat, right?



    I mean I don't know if there is any well done analysis of a possible halo effect out there, but either accepting or rejecting it based on your circle of friends is foolish.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    cubecube Posts: 142member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Not Unlike Myself

    The only Halo I want to see is a Mac version of the Microsoft owned (Halo 2)game. I have 4 friends who bought iPods in the last 2 weeks. FOUR. None of them want a Mac. Even if they *did* their Windows iPod would have to be re-formatted etc....



    iPod good. Halo? Questionable.




    tree of my friends and my brother bought an ipod, and now my brother and one of my friends and my mother all have powerbook's! And of the remaining two friends one is going to order a mac mini now, and the last one is considering buying a mac next time she's gonna by a computer.



    So according to my friend circle the halo effect is close to 100% But it docen't mean anything. Someone will always say "in my friend circle..." ore "No! In my friend circle they do that and that!!!"
  • Reply 4 of 6
    Perhaps I should clarify. I find it difficult to prove *or* disprove the 'Halo' effect without the Apple Store database at my disposal. I doubt Apple handed it to this 'Analyst' either.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,073member
    I don't know why he thinks that gross margins will decline, it seems to me like they would go up (because they finally get some cash in exchange for the Tiger R&D effort, and because now that the supply has freed up they will sell more iPods and minis - and more sales means higher margins).
  • Reply 6 of 6
    sunilramansunilraman Posts: 8,133member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Not Unlike Myself

    Perhaps I should clarify. I find it difficult to prove *or* disprove the 'Halo' effect without the Apple Store database at my disposal. I doubt Apple handed it to this 'Analyst' either.



    if they did Stevie J might end up doing time in a Fresno Federal Jail or somethin' ... don't drop the soap Steve..!! we'd all have to organise to protest outside his trial with "Free Steve" placards or "Imagine a World Without Steve Jobs, Without iPods"
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