“It certainly wasn’t the finish to 2018 [for which] shareholders of technology giant Apple were looking,” Bill Maurer writes for Seeking Alpha. “Amidst China trade war concerns fueling speculation of an iPhone slowdown, the stock lost more than 32% from its all-time high to the year’s finish. With that basically putting every analyst target above where shares are currently, I’m here today to discuss what I think Apple needs in 2019 to get its mojo back.”

“When it’s time for Apple to unveil its new phones in the fall of 2019, consumers on two-year plans for the iPhone 8 will be eligible to upgrade. The smallest of the ‘new phones’ launched in 2018 was a screen size of 5.8 inches. While the elimination of the Home button helped a bit, that’s still too big of a device for many consumers. There have been rumors for a year or two now about a new version of the SE, but I just don’t see that in Apple’s plans currently with the focus being on protecting margins,” Maurer writes. “My personal opinion is to go with two ‘entry-level’ and two ‘premium’ phones moving forward.”

“With the share count dropping at a much faster pace into this year’s expected Spring 2019 dividend raise, a much more significant increase would seem to be in the cards,” Maurer writes. “Given we saw a 15.9% increase last year, it would really be a shame if we don’t see a minimum of a 20% raise, if not closer to 25%. Getting the annual dividend yield toward 2.5% could go a long way on attracting new investors into the stock, and it makes the buyback even more intriguing.”

Apple also needs “a better entry-level strategy for tablets / laptops,” Maurer writes. “It’s all about bringing more and more consumers into the Apple ecosystem. Obviously, selling more devices will generate more revenue, but the more important part for the company moving forward is to sell extras and accessories that go with these devices.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The rampant echo chamber “concerns” over iPhone and iPad sales couldn’t have been more overblown.

All Apple really needs is to execute their plans in 2019. The user base is already there and customer satisfaction is off-the-charts high, so repeat hardware sales are a given as is strong ecosystem (services) growth.

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