Apple 2.0

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Apple's WWDC 2013: What the analysts are saying - updated

June 10, 2013: 10:59 PM ET

Wall Street's initial reactions were measured but positive. More as they come in.

Cook takes the stage at WWDC.

Cook takes the stage at WWDC.

FORTUNE -- Analysts who follow Apple (AAPL)  may have needed more time than usual to sort through their notes from Monday's over-stuffed WWDC keynote, because by 11 p.m. EST only a handful had filed notes to clients.

Excerpts below of the ones we've seen. New ones will go on top.

JP Morgan's Mark Moskowitz: No Needle Mover, but the Building Blocks Are Put in Place. "We do not expect investors to cheer the latest software and services rollouts at Apple's WWDC 2013. The tech improvements appear to be suitably impressive, but we do not expect them to move the needle in the model in the near to mid term. The new specs reinforce, however, Apple's enhanced user experience, in our view, but the bigger story remains whether or not Apple can jumpstart its revenue growth profile. This pivot point is likely deferred to 2H C2013 with launches of lower-priced iPhone, iPhone 5S, and iPad mini with Retina Display. As for WWDC highlights, we recognize: 1) iOS 7, 2) iTunes Radio, 3) Mac OS X Mavericks, 4) new MacBook Airs, and 5) next-gen Mac Pro." Overweight. $545.  

Goldman Sachs' Bill Shope: No major surprises, but software enhancements significant. "In our preview we noted that we did not expect any new iOS hardware devices at the event, and we expected the focus to be on (1) iOS 7 and its new UI and features, as well as (2) enhancements to iOS services and key attributes of the ecosystem (e.g., iCloud, Siri). On the first front, we were positively surprised by the iOS UI enhancements. On the second front, we were encouraged to see iTunes Radio launched, but we found the enhancements to iCloud and Siri somewhat underwhelming. Overall, the iOS overhaul could be the most significant development for the long-term story, so we were encouraged with the refresh and we believe the overall event should be seen as a modest positive for the stock. We continue to believe, however, that we need to see positive earnings momentum from Apple's next series of iOS hardware launches in the fall for the stock to begin its full recovery; we remain optimistic on this front." Buy. $500.

Merrill Lynch's Scott Craig. A major SW overhaul ahead of upcoming HW refresh. "This year's event was more significant, given (1) some of recent iOS demand fatigue is driven by lack of major SW overhaul, and (2) this is the first major announcement since last year's management shuffle. Jony Ive now oversees user interface as well as HW industrial design. Craig Federighi is in charge of both iOS and Mac SW, while Eddy Cue is in charge of all services, which should lead to a deeper integration between HW, SW and services, and also between iOS and Mac. With the first iOS introduced 6 years ago, modernization of the look and feel of iOS 7 (softer, cleaner, no faux textures) was timely, as well as a number of new features (new multi-tasking, control center, etc.). Apple continues to refine existing services (Siri, iCloud and Maps), although we still see some gaps against market leaders in certain products (e.g. Google Maps, Google Docs, Dropbox, etc.). iTunes Radio (streaming music service) competes directly against Pandora and Google(free, ad-based, different vs. Google's fee-based service)." Buy. $540. 

Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty: WWDC as Expected; iPhone Launch Timing Unchanged. "iOS 7, OS X Mavericks, Macs, and iTunes Radio all met or exceeded expectations including "fall" iOS 7 availability. Additionally, Apple hinted at potential new services including tighter integration with automobiles and the ability to leverage 575MM accounts linked to credit cards. iOS 7 an upside surprise. Most, including us, saw risk that a new iOS user interface could disappoint but easy-to-use functions (similar to iOS 6) yet significant design and feature updates received positive initial feedback from developers. The "fall" release of iOS 7 is consistent with Apple's April earnings call and last year's launch of iPhone 5 + iOS 6. Importantly, 93% of iPhone users on the latest version of iOS vs. just 33% for Android highlights Apple's (and developers') ability to roll-out new features and services to a large, consistent customer base." Rating: Overweight. Price target: $540.

Deutsche Bank's Chris Whitmore: Ive clears the clutter and puts his stamp on iOS 7. "At WWDC, Apple introduced SW upgrades for iOS 7 and Mac OS Mavericks. Apple also refreshed the MacBook Air and gave a peak of the new Mac Pro. The announcements were largely in-line with expectation and our model is unchanged. We expect the SW enhancements (Control center, multi-tasking, Notification center & iTunes Radio etc) coupled with deeper integration with Mac OS and future iPhone refreshes to attract users and developers to the iOS platform and extend AAPL's position in mobility. We like the refresh of the iOS UI which gives the iPhone a fresher, modernized look and feel while remaining familiar to existing users (easing the transition)." Buy. $480.

Needham's Charlie Wolf: Apple extends its lead in the iPhone and iPad operating system. "The star of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference was iOS 7, the operating system that powers the iPhone and iPad. Apple simplified the design of the user interface, but in a way that sets it far ahead of the widely- praised Metro interface on Windows Phone. Interfaces are skin deep. The iOS 7 upgrade enhanced virtually every feature of the operating system. It significantly improved its multitasking capabilities. It also improved its maps application, a feature that was the source of derision in the past. It added iTunes streaming radio to attract users who prefer to listen as well as buy. And it added capabilities to its Siri Intelligent Assistant, including Bing, Wikipedia and Twitter feeds as new sources of information. The bottom line, in our opinion, is that iOS once again represents the gold standard of mobile operating systems." Buy. $710.

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster: Believe iOS 7 Changes Could Be Most Important In iPhone History. "While these announcements were largely expected, we believe that the improvements in iOS 7 should give iPhone users, and investors, a new reason to be excited about their iOS devices and subsequent new phones/tablets. At the end of the day, we believe iPhone users get over new hardware within a few hours when updating their phones, but the OS is what mesmerizes people longer term. Overall, we believe the event sets the stage for new products over the next 6 quarters including iPhone 5S, a cheaper iPhone, a television, iPhone 6, iWatch, and possibly a payments solution." Overweight. $655.

ISI's Brian Marshall: Extreme Makeover ... iOS Edition. "In our view, creating greater "stickiness" to the iOS platform (relative to Android) is nearly as important as releasing better hardware (e.g., larger display) as it is much easier to make up lost ground in the latter than in the former. We believe AAPL is accomplishing this mission here with very significant user interface enhancements and iTunes Radio providing almost a completely new experience to current users while we await upgraded hardware." Strong Buy. $600.

Topeka's Brian White: "We felt the refreshed user interface with iOS 7 was a big change through more striking colors, a simpler interface, translucency, new typography, full screen interface, "subtle motion" capability and more. Clearly, Jony Ive's influence on iOS 7 was felt in a meaningful way with this release. Many new features come with iOS 7 and multi- tasking was one that we believe users will appreciate, along with AirDrop for peer-to-peer transfer, a new Siri voice (now in male and female), expanded Siri intelligence, iOS in the car and other new features." Buy. $888. 

RBC's Amit Daryanani: It's the Ecosystem, Not Just Hardware. "We believe AAPL's true differentiation is its unique computing ecosystem – iOS. iOS provides users with an integrated, scalable and seamless experience across multiple devices, something we believe will be difficult to replicate in scale for competitors. Simplistically, the scale of users attracts application developers, which in turn bolsters the number of users. We believe this cycle results in a captive consumer base that transitions more data and usage via iOS on Apple devices." Outperform. $475. 

Nomura's Stuart Jeffrey: Same Again, with Plenty of Gloss. "CEO Tim Cook stressed that Apple's philosophy is to make the best products that people use more and love more than anyone else's. This was the key message in the welcome video; Cook reiterated it when starting to talk about iOS and called it out again at the end of the keynote. ¶Our interpretation of Cook's comments is that he is signaling that investors and media should not look for Apple to cut corners to cut prices in a bid to drive unit market share. In the run-up to a midrange iPhone launch (recent reports suggest August; source Commercial Times), we believe that these comments may point to a price point at the high end of expectations―i.e., around $400. If correct, this would further support our view that Apple's share in emerging markets (the only remaining growth markets for smartphones) will decline in the next few years and limit the growth potential for the company as a whole." Neutral. $420.

Apple's shares closed down 0.66% for the day, but that's less than the 1.5% and 2% losses they suffered after the two previous WWDCs.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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