October 16, 2012
Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) highly anticipated iPad Mini reveal event, scheduled for a week from now, just got a lot bigger. Yesterday, the media got word that Apple will probably also announce a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, a sleeker version of the thin and powerful notebook. And today the newswires are buzzing that Apple will also revamp its critically acclaimed Mac Mini computer by launching three new models, including one that runs Apple's OS X Server.
Having so many products rolled out at once is a shift for Apple, which usually highlights one product launch per event. The tech community agrees that this is already the busiest year yet for the gadget giant. But then again, with competitors like Microsoft Inc. (MSFT) and Google Inc. (GOOG), it's unsurprising that Apple has been firing on all cylinders.
Speaking of Microsoft, it stole some of the spotlight from Apple this morning as the price was leaked for the Surface. The new Microsoft tablet was listed at a $499 starting price (for a 32 GB model without a touch cover). This is $100 cheaper than the new 32 GB iPad, but I think it'll take more than that to entice diehard Apple fans away from the iPad, which currently commands 70% of the tablet market. In either event, we'll see how Microsoft does soon, as mass production of the Surface tablets began just a few weeks ago.
Above all else, I'm marking next Thursday, October 25, on my calendar—because that's when Apple releases its fourth-quarter earnings data. I expect that Apple's fourth-quarter operating results will lay fears of an Apple slowdown to rest and help turn around its recent bout of consolidation. Currently, the analyst community calls for 28.5% sales growth and 26.1% earnings growth, and I'm optimistic that the company will match the Street view. I'll have the latest on this blog when it comes out, but in the meantime there's no doubt in my mind that Apple Inc. is a great buy right now.