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Commentary

Innovation Lives On at Apple

Apple’s new products reinforce our view that it is one of our best investment ideas within the technology sector.

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We like what we saw out of  Apple’s (AAPL) jam-packed product announcement event on Sept. 9, as the company continues to push the envelope on hardware, software, and service innovations. Features and pricing around new products like the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, iPad Pro, and Apple TV were in line with reports leading up to the event, and we don’t view Apple’s stock sell-off after the event as company-specific, but rather in line with the broader decline in the U.S. stock market. We will maintain our $140 fair value estimate for Apple and consider it to be one of our best investment ideas within the technology sector. Our narrow moat rating for Apple remains intact, while the announcements give us even more confidence in our positive moat trend rating. We think more and more customers are likely to buy additional Apple products and services (like the newest Apple TV), which should increase switching costs around iOS and allow Apple to sell repeat iPhones to this customer base well into the future.

The iPhone 6s will have its usual “s-series” upgrades from the prior year’s model, such as improved processors and cameras with Ultra HD video capabilities. New features like Live Photos and 3D Touch appear compelling, but perhaps not as exciting as upgrades like TouchID as in years past. Nonetheless, we still foresee iPhone growth in fiscal 2016 as the two big drivers of last year’s growth—demand for large-screen iPhones and expanded distribution with China Mobile—continue on. The health of China’s true economy remains the biggest risk to Apple’s near-term growth, in our view.

We view the iPad Pro as focusing on the enterprise and serving niche audiences, all while protecting its premium tablet leadership position and cutting off areas of differentiation from competitors like Microsoft. We found Apple’s revised TV and tvOS to be its most interesting product, as the company strives to develop a one-stop platform for home content viewing (movies, TV, streaming video, gaming).

Brian Colello does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.