Apple (AAPL) saw its shares reach new heights ahead of its December-quarter earnings report, silencing critics who claimed its heyday was over. The consumer giant delivered an 81% gain for investors, successfully overcoming operational challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple also became the first publicly-traded company to reach a $2 trillion market cap, doubling its valuation in just over two years.
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Apple is no stranger to success and shows no signs of slowing down, going so far as to eclipse Samsung as the top smartphone vendor for the first time in four years, producing 199 million iPhone units in 2020. Its revenue is expected to continue to rise by 21% this fiscal year with an estimated 229 million iPhone units, representing a 15% year-on-year improvement, outpacing the industry average. In 2022, it is estimated to grow another 4% due to anticipated new product releases and the expansion of its ecosystem, which recently surpassed 600 million paid subscribers.
2021 is set to be Apple’s best year since 2016, as the company goes from strength to strength. The tech giant will continue to focus on locking in its users through its ecosystem strategy, increasing customers’ dependence on Apple products, which could potentially lead to conflicts with companies like Spotify, Netflix and Amazon. Moreover, investors should expect Apple to release new versions of the Mac, iPad, Apple Watch and Airpods, during the first half of the year. The new Mac will also debut Apple’s ARM-based silicon chips, moving away from Intel’s x86 CPUs and boosting its margins.
Apple is expected to command 35% of the 5G smartphone market in 2021 due to its competitive price points and a large database of iPhone users. This is significant as sales of 5G smartphones are anticipated to take off, with analysts forecasting 150% growth from 2020’s shipments of 250 million units. Apple is also preparing to make a dent in the electric vehicles space with plans to invest $3.6 billion in Kia Motors. It is being reported that the tech giant will manufacturer Apple cars in Kia’s factory in Georgia starting in 2024.
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