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Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster handicaps Apple's fall lineup

August 13, 2013: 9:13 AM ET

It wouldn't be a Munster forecast without an Apple television in it.

Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 7.24.54 AMFORTUNE -- Jumping on AllThingD's report that Apple (AAPL) has scheduled a special event on Sept. 10 to introduce its latest crop of iPhones -- a rumor endorsed Monday with a "Yep" from The Loop's Jim Dalrymple -- Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster has issued his predictions for Apple's 2013-2014 product line-up.

"We believe now is the time to own shares of AAPL," he wrote in a note to clients Tuesday, "given that we expect earnings will move from being down y/y in the first three quarters of 2013 to flat in the Dec-13 quarter, up 15% in Mar-14, and up 21% in Jun-14."

The catalyst for this earnings growth, he believes, will be a series of new product announcements over the next six months. Specifically:

  • iPhone: Munster takes the announcement of the iPhone 5S on Sept. 10 as a given. That would also be the logical time to introduce a lower-cost ($300) iPhone 5C, although he puts the odds of that phone shipping in October at 90%. He also expects a larger-screen (4.5 to 5-inch) iPhone 6 in the first half of 2014, resulting by the middle of next year in an Apple product line-up consisting of good (3.5 inch), better (4 inch) and best (4.5-5 inch) iPhones. Munster estimates that with 125 million 2012-model iPhones coming off contract and 80% to 90% of iPhone owners sticking with the brand, roughly 70% of 2014's 152 million iPhone sales are probably already "in the bag."
  • iPad: Munster thinks Apple is likely to schedule a separate event later in the month to launch the first refresh of its iPad line-up since last October. The new family of tablets will include, he believes, a thinner, lighter 10-inch iPad with a casing similar to the iPad mini. And despite reports to the contrary, he expects the mini will get a high-res Retina screen to compete with products like Google's (GOOG) new Nexus 7. He's modeling the iPad to capture 55% of the tablet market in 2014 and 50% in 2015, with the iPad mini accounting for 65% of unit sales.
  • Mac: "The Mac is becoming a less and less important part of the overall story," writes Munster, who doesn't anticipate any new products this fall. He's expecting Mac sales to decline 4% in 2014 and another 4% in 2015. By 2015 the Mac should account for 9% of Apple's revenue -- less if Munster factors in new products, like a Watch or a TV.
  • Television: It wouldn't be a Gene Munster forecast without a TV set in it. He's been talking about this thing since early 2009 and now he's predicting an announcement late this year with product shipping in the first half of 2014. His theory is that plugging the current Apple TV into an HD TV set and selecting HDMI 3 is beyond the skill set of the "average non-tech person." What these consumers really want, he says, is a product that solves the problem of too many TV remotes. Last summer he surveyed 400 consumers and found 50% said they would buy an Apple Television. When he said it would cost between $1,500-$2,000 the percentage dropped to 12%. But even a 9% share of the Internet-connected TV market yields, by his calculation, $1.8 billion in gross profit (assuming 10% profit margin) and $18 billion in revenue.
  • Watch: Based on Tim Cook's comments at D11, Munster believes a watch is in Apple's product line-up, but his confidence that the company will ship one in 2014 is only 60%. That said, he can't resist calculating the impact on Apple's bottom line. "If you assume 5% of the active iPhone user base bought a watch in 2014 at an ASP of $250 and a 30% gross margin," he writes, "it would yield watch sales of 14 million units and increase our 2014 revenue estimates by $3.5 billion or 4% and gross profit dollars by $900 million or 1%."
  • Digital Wallet: "Carrying cash is for old people," a twentysomething told Munster, and on the strength of that sentiment -- and Apple's purchase last year of Authentec's fingerprint reading technology -- he believes Apple will put a digital wallet in its mobile operating system either this fall or next year. Receipt management and slicker loyalty programs are among the benefits of such a system, but best of all would be the ability to make purchases by simply scanning a product and walking out of the store with it. "Consumers," he writes, "notably US consumers, will jump through hoops to avoid waiting in line."

He might be right about that. Waiting in line is pretty high up in my top 10 list of things to avoid, right after watching TV commercials.

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