By Jim Karpen on Mon, 02/13/2012
Excitement continues to build over the upcoming iPad 3. And yet another indication of the imminent arrival of the iPad 3 is the price drop on the iPad 2 offered by Meijer, a regional retail chain. Their in-store price of the low-end iPad with WiFi of $429 is seen as an effort to clear out inventory in advance of the arrival of a new model. Meijer is based in Michigan, with stores in some surrounding states.
In addition, parts of the new iPad 3 that surfaced last week have been more closely scrutinized and continue to point to an unchanged form factor, but with a high-resolution display. iLab Factory obtained the parts. You can read more on AppleInsider. The parts also suggest, according to iMore, a higher-pixel camera based on changes to the camera hole in the back casing. The casing is also a tad thicker, apparently to accommodate a larger battery.
The iPad 3 is rumored to have a 2048 × 1536 Retina display made by Sharp. That, as you know, is high definition, and then some. I hope the rumors are right.
Apple's stock has soared the past two weeks, nearly reaching $504 today before dropping back slightly. The rise began after Apple's recent quarterly report of over $13 billion in profit. Apple is now the most highly valued company in the world, at $465 billion, compared to second place Exxon Mobile at $400 billion.
Apple's shareholder meeting is coming up, and it's expected that there will be a lot of pressure on Apple to share some of their $100 billion in cash with shareholders. Many feel that Apple should offer a dividend of 2-3%. This would not only give current investors a bit of additional income, but would also attract those institutional investors that only invest in stocks that offer a dividend, since such dividends give their investment a bit more stability. Of course, if these investors get in the game that would drive the stock up even higher. It may be in anticipation of this that the stock has jumped up so quickly.
Another option would be for Apple to buy back shares, thereby increasing the value of the stock for current shareholders. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the meeting. Apple has typically had the attitude that the dramatic rise in the stock price should be enough to satisfy investors and that dividends are only for the stocks of companies no longer in a growth phsae. Apple's share price was $10 a decade ago. You can read more in the LA Times.
At least one analyst is giving Apple a price target of $800. You can read the rationale here. He expects the demand for the iPhone 5 to be on a scale not seen before. And that makes sense, given how each new model has sold faster than the previous one. He also expects the sales of the iPad to continue to grow and that it will continue to dominate the tablet market. I think that's a safe prediction. I'm glad I have my 20 shares purchased at $63, but of course I wish I'd bought more.