Apple will further extend its lead in the technology sector this year as it launches a number of new products that will leave its competition scrambling, a new report suggested on Tuesday. Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White made Apple his top pick in 2011 and the stock was his top performer, having grown 26% during his coverage. In 2012, Apple remains White’s top stock pick as a trio of new products is set to extend Apple’s lead in the new year. Read on for more.
“We believe Apple’s portfolio in 2012 has the opportunity to create more excitement around the story with our expectation for the unveiling of iTV, [an] ‘iPad mini’ and a major upgrade with the iPhone 5, while we expect the company to finally come to grips with its surging cash balance and issue its first cash dividend,” White wrote in a research note on Tuesday.
The analyst first reported in October that Apple would launch an “iPad mini” in 2012. While a number of reports suggested the new slate would in fact be a smaller iPad¬†positioned between Apple’s high-end iPad and the iPod touch, White used the term “mini” to describe the upcoming tablet’s price point rather than its size. He sees Apple launching a new high-end iPad in 2012, and a less expensive mini model priced in the high to mid-$200 range will accompany it, White believes. More recent reports suggest that Apple will continue to sell the iPad 2 at a lower price once it launches the iPad 3.
Beyond a new iPad that will attack the market at a lower price point, the analyst sees two other Apple products as being huge for the Cupertino, California-based company this year.”We believe 2012 will be the year that Apple unveils iTV in pursuit of a new $100 billion plus LCD TV market opportunity, reinventing a product category with a Smart TV that delivers a clean, crisp and simple experience that connects seamlessly with the Apple digital ecosystem,” White wrote. “Last April, we were the first on the Street to uncover concrete evidence that a full blown Apple TV was already flowing through factories in China for prototype production and we believe it’s about time for the company to unveil its latest innovation.”
Finally, Ticonderoga believes Apple’s next-generation iPhone will feature a cosmetic redesign and a huge feature upgrade. “The iPhone 4S has been a big hit but we expect iPhone 5 to be even bigger with our expectations of a new unibody form factor, larger screen, NFC and 4G,” White wrote. BGR exclusively reported last month that Apple will launch a new iPhone this fall with a redesigned aluminum case.