Apple WWDC Preview: iCloud Steve Jobs Steve Jobs received a standing ovation at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference Monday as Apple unveiled its iCloud hosted computing service. But despite Jobs' anticipated participation at the Apple (AAPL) event, his second this year since taking a medical leave six months ago, investors should not expect a huge upswing in the company's stock, says Brian Marshall, a Gleacher & Co. analyst.

In part, that's because the iCloud service and Jobs' attendance at the conference is already baked into the share price. The company announced Jobs' expected appearance at WWDC and teased the iCloud announcement last Tuesday, which gave Apple's shares a slight 3% rise to $347.83 immediately afterward.

Apple stock

But Apple wasn't able to hold onto that slight gain as the week progressed, although it did manage to fare better than the broader markets.

Apple stock and broader markets

"It is positive Steve will be in attendance and hopefully his appearance is healthy on a relative basis," said Marshall, in an email interview. "Regarding iCloud, we need to learn more but at the end of the day, it will not move the needle from a financial perspective anytime soon but should enable iOS to gain share."

Reportedly, iCloud will allow customers to store their data, such as iTunes music and movies, in the cloud, and access it from anywhere using their Apple devices. Apple, meanwhile, is reportedly in talks with four major recording studios to participate in the iCloud service.

Despite the buzz over the potential deals with the recording studios, as well as the possibility of a subscription-based model for iCloud, Apple's stock is not expected to soar as a result of today's event. Ironically, Wall Street and companies tend to favor dependable, on-going sources of revenue that come with subscription-based models that can enhance one-off sales of hardware.

"Regarding today's event, I don't expect much material action in the stock (announcements already expected). However, I do believe expectations are low and the stock is set to rise materially in the [second half of this year]," says Marshall. That's when an iPhone 4 upgrade is due, he notes. But Marshal anticipates better results from the first half of 2012, when the widely anticipated iPhone 5 should be released, designed to run on carriers' next generation Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks.

That upgrade may help juice Apple's shares. Considering the blowout earnings Apple has been dishing out, its year-to-date stock performance has been lackluster.



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