Apple analysts react to Galaxy S4 launch with a variety of wild insights

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Samsung officially unveiled its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone last night at a theatrical, Broadway-style presentation in New York, and analysts are quick to jump in today with opinions on what it means for Apple. AAPL is having a decent morning hitting a high of 442.50 and opinions from analysts seem to be split down the middle regarding whether the S4 has what it takes to cut into Apple’s market share.

Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray doesn’t seem too impressed with the S4 upgrade but noted Samsung’s new S Band is “a quick first pass for Samsung on wearable technology ahead of Apple’s watch. Munster added that he expects Apple to launch its smart watch product by 2014 (via Barron’s):

The Galaxy S4 appears to be largely an incremental update to the S3 including a slightly larger screen (4% larger on diagonal), better camera and processor, and updated software, but largely the same body style and casing. We believe some of the software features are unique, including the tilt to scroll, video pausing based on facial recognition, and hand gesture based interactions, but view these software improvements as minor compared with what Siri was to the iPhone 4S or even Google Now to Android.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek thought the S4 will be “incrementally negative for Apple” but doesn’t view the S4 upgrade as “revolutionary” (via Zdnet): Read more

Analyst: Initial iPhone 5S production to begin in March for June/July launch

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Following reports from WSJ that Apple is cutting component orders for iPhone 5 due to “weaker-than-expected-demand,” Jeffries analyst Peter Misek is out today with a note to clients claiming initial production of the iPhone 5S will begin in March for a June/July launch (via StreetInsider):

 “As word of the earlier production schedule starts to spread, we believe we could see a slight slowing of demand CQ1 in anticipation of the new product launch and Apple will likely start curtailing channel inventory. Therefore we tweak down our CQ1 iPhone shipment estimate from 48M to 44M, which is still well above widespread fears of shipments in the mid-30Ms.”

Back in December Misek also claimed the 5S is coming in June and at the time said he expects Apple to ship the device with multiple colors, improved battery life, and possibly a 4.8″ Retina/IGZO display. However, in today’s note Misek said there has been no additional evidence for the 4.8″ prototype signaling the design could be for the iPhone 6.  Today he also added his thoughts on rumors of a low-cost iPhone, claiming Apple could release a low-cost device made of polycarbonate with no LTE and a 4″ non-retina display.

As for the rumors of less than expected iPhone 5 demand contributing to cuts on component orders, which is also impacting the company’s stock price this week, Misek provided his thoughts: Read more

Unlikely scenario: Analyst says Apple HDTV to be called ‘iPanel’; begins production in May

Jefferies & Co.’s Peter Misek has been one of the most outspoken analysts about Apple’s rumored HDTV product. He first said in November that Sharp was preparing its production lines for the “iTV” and then last month claimed production of up to 5 million units could begin by May with a product launch by Q4 2012. In this morning’s note to clients (via Barron’s), Misek once again claimed television components have begun shipping to Apple’s panel suppliers in Asia and upped his price target to $800 based on “increased confidence” that Apple will indeed launch the product this year. He is also now claiming the product will be dubbed “iPanel.”

Misek said on a recent trip to Asia he saw “polarized films, filters and IGZO components” headed to Apple suppliers in small quantities. Another reason for Misek’s increased confidence is the announcement that Hon Hai Precision will buy a 10 percent stake in Sharp Display. He explained:

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Analyst: Apple could use ‘iTV’ moniker for HDTV, partner with carriers for programming

Apple’s rumored HDTV might be called the iTV, according to a new report from Bloomberg citing Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek. In a note to clients this morning, Misek also claimed Apple might buy licenses for programming through possible partnerships with Verizon and AT&T and could “leverage content into a YouTube-like model” by taking advantage of user created video from iPhone and iPad users. He also noted “Lower margins and higher risks” will most likely keep Apple away from creating original programming. Misek did not comment on a possible timeframe for the product’s launch.

Misek’s scenario of Apple partnering with carriers for content follows a report from Reuters today that confirmed Verizon and Coinstar’s Redbox division have partnered with plans to create a video streaming service to rival Netflix and Hulu Plus. Verizon and Redbox plan to offer its first product resulting from the partnership in second half of the year. As for the possibility of Apple calling its HDTV product the “iTV.” Apple will of course have to work out rights to the name from the major United Kingdom TV network of the same name.

Just last week, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster weighed in claiming Apple was talking with a “major TV component supplier” about “various capabilities of their television display components.” He also offered three possible scenarios for how Apple will approach content on its HDTV product suggesting a simple integration of third-party live TV services, to a live TV/web content combination, to an iTunes monthly subscription.

In related news, you might have come across a BestBuy survey recently that aims to gauge interest in an Apple HDTV concept. If you are interested in seeing what BestBuy dreamed up for the survey, a copy sent to us by a reader is available below (Thanks Alan!):

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Peter Misek rumor roundup: Sharp developing iTV display, along with sharper iPad 3 display

A few months ago Analyst Peter Misek reported that iOS and OSX would become one in 2012.  That kind of flies in the face of Mac OS 10.8 that’s been hitting everyone’s Web logs. He’s also talked about Apple opening up super data centers all over the world for a confusing Netflix service that mostly already exists.

With that boulder of salt consumed, AllThingsD quotes Misek as saying that Apple has selected Sharp specifically to manufacture new TFT LCD panels for the upcoming iTV, an Apple-branded television set rumored to boast Siri as the flagship feature (here and here).

The analyst speculates the iTV could ship mid-2012:

Over at Jeffries, analyst Peter Misek suggests that Sharp is retooling a production line at its factory in Sakai specifically to manufacture modified amorphous TFT LCD panels that will be used in the so-called iTV. If all goes well, the line should be ready for commercial production by February of 2012, which means we could see Apple’s take on the TV by midyear.

The report also mentions some manufacturers of current televisions are becoming nervous of what exactly iTV might be (we know Sony is one of them) and hope to adapt quickly so they don’t suffer the same fate vendors in other  industries face, such as the smartphone folks. It should be noted that Misek has been wrong one too many times, so you’re cautioned to apply skepticism to his thinking. The iTV reportedly isn’t the only thing Sharp will be supplying displays for…

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