Analysts revisit Apple stock price target on AI, buyback

Apple (AAPL) has been criticized for its tardy response to AI for some time. The Cupertino, Calif.-based computer company seems to have followed the pack rather than blazing a path on the new science that promises—or threatens—to upend just about every aspect of our lives.  

Tim Cook told analysts on Apple's second-quarter earnings call in May that "we can’t wait to reveal what we have in-store." "We continue to feel very bullish about our opportunity in Generative AI," he said. "We are making significant investments, and we’re looking forward to sharing some very exciting things with our customers soon."  

He said "We believe in the transformative power and promise of AI, and we believe we have advantages that will differentiate us in this new era." "As we push innovation forward," he continued, "we continue to manage thoughtfully and deliberately through an uneven macroeconomic environment and remain focused on putting our users at the center of everything we do."  

Apple Intelligence, a personal intelligence system for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, "combines generative AI with a user's personal context to deliver truly helpful intelligence," Cook announced last month. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives believes despite the many critics.  

In a July 8 note, Ives, who rates Apple shares outperform and sets a $275 price target, claimed the AI iPhone 16 upgrade cycle may push the firm to $4 trillion in market valuation.  

"We believe the Street is now starting to slowly recognize that with Apple Intelligence on the doorstep, in essence, Cupertino will be the gatekeepers of the consumer AI Revolution," he said in a study.  

Ives claimed that "as Apple and its golden iOS ecosystem hold the only keys to the castle of 2.2 billion iOS devices worldwide and 1.5 billion iPhones." Developers and other tech giants may need to incorporate their AI models and technology into Apple Intelligence.  

"We expect developers over the next 6 to 12 months will build hundreds of generative AI-driven apps that will be key ingredients in the recipe for success for Apple," he said, "as its technology stack creates the core building blocks of the consumer AI tidal wave we see coming starting with iPhone 16 in mid-September."  

Ives added, "June will be the last negative growth quarter for China with a growth turnaround beginning in the September quarter." Apple's iPhone sales in China plummeted considerably earlier this year.  

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