Shares of Apple ($AAPL) jumped over 3.5 percent to as high as 568.90 Monday as the company finally announced a deal with China Mobile ($CHL), the largest phone company in the world, finally granting the iPhone maker access to its over 760 million existing subscribers. While the deal had long been expected by investors, the official announcement opens up a giant new market segment for Apple and alleviates some of the growing concerns that it had topped out its existing customer base.
Apple, China Mobile Timing
Depending on your perspective, the announcement comes at an interesting time. For bulls, it serves as somewhat of an early Christmas present.
Apple has issued a series of good news over the past several months, including the introduction of two well-received iPhones, a revamping of the popular iOS platform, as well as posting strong revenues, earnings, and decent margins for the most recent quarter. Yet, until now, the company had failed to deliver the one catalyst that Wall Street wanted most. Granted, the issue of how much China Mobile is willing to subsidize for the iPhone is crucial to Apple’s success in the market. Pricing plans have yet to be announced.
Still, the price of Apple’s stock has advanced over 25 percent since the mid-September low of around $450. Whether or not the company will be able to carry the momentum over into 2014 remains to be seen.
Apple Under Tim Cook
However, CEO Tim Cook is reportedly already setting expectations for what Apple has in store for the coming year. A few rumored products that have been speculated upon include new larger iPhone and iPad models, the much-discussed iWatch, and Apple’s television set.
In April 2013, Cook had said, “We've got some really great stuff coming in the fall and across all of 2014.” And while anxious investors may not have been too excited with the statement at the time, the company’s behavior and development seems to be consistent thus far with his timeline.
As for Cook, 2014 may finally be the year he fully emerges from the colossal shadow casted by Steve Jobs. For all the comparisons of how Cook is not like Jobs—especially as a visionary and innovator—his strengths as an operations genius has positioned Apple in a very enviable spot for the coming year.
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