Apple is slated to kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference at 1:00 p.m. in New York and expectations are that it will be a jam-packed affair, with a number of software updates and perhaps one or two surprises.
While WWDC never commands as much of a spotlight as Apple’s annual iPhone event, new software features and policies can have profound effects, especially as investors grow concerned about traditional hardware sales. Parts shortages, factory shutdowns and supply chain issues remain headwinds for the company, which may need to highlight its high-growth services category to keep shareholders excited.
By the numbers: Analysts expect iPhone revenue to rise 6.2% this fiscal year after soaring 39% in 2021. That compares to services sales that could jump nearly 17% to $80B in 2022.
Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives, who has an outperform rating and $200-a-share price target on Apple’s stock, noted that iOS 16 updates, some of which include changes to the lock screen, messaging and health features, are likely to capture significant interest, as are changes to the Apple Watch. However, Ives said a new NFL-centric update to its Apple TV+ streaming service might be the update that gets outsized attention. Apple has recently dipped its toe into sports broadcasting with two exclusive MLB Friday Night Baseball games on Apple TV+ each week, and Ives said the allure of adding NFL football to its offerings may be too good to pass up.
Surprises? Apple has used past WWDCs to show off new augmented reality and virtual reality technologies for its various operating systems and it’s expected at the very least to do that, according to Ives, who pointed out the strategy is “laying the breadcrumbs” for “the highly anticipated” headset. Some believe Apple may even introduce it at the event, but not show off any high-level detail, while others expect it will be shown off and launched in 2023. It’s also possible that Apple could introduce new MacBook Air laptops as it has done at several other WWDCs in the past.