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Apple Inc. (AAPL) WWDC Starts Monday: What Investors Should Look For

Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPad Pro

Apple Inc.’s  big and important event, Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), will take place next week in San Francisco, California. The U.S. tech giant uses this platform to launch new products and services. At the five-day annual conference starting Monday, the company is likely to announce upgrades to all its device operating systems, including iOS for iPhone and iPad, watchOS, tvOS and OS X for the Mac. In addition to new versions of iOS and OS X, analysts expect that Apple could release new services in TV or streaming music, CNBC reported.

Apple’s WWDC keynote will include software and hardware announcements as well as updates to developer tools, according to the reports. This year, the company will mostly focus on software. In this article, we’ll talk about features that could debut at the event, giving readers an idea of what to expect.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPad Pro

1. Streaming Services

Apple is worried about declining iPhone sales as well as its growth in China. FBR Capital Markets Analyst Dan Ives expect that the iPhone maker could roll out a series of new over-the-top streaming services at the conference.

“Although media reports have been swirling around these services, we believe these additions to the Apple ecosystem are a critical component of Apple’s strategy, helping drive new customers and penetrating further into existing ones while adding a recurring revenue stream,” Ives said.

Apple is unlikely to release a brand new TV box. A report from The New York Times suggested that the company is still working to complete its new product.

2. New Streaming Music

Last year, Apple bought Beats Music for $3 billion. Beats Music was a subscription-based online music streaming service, which was discontinued by the company in November, following the launch of Apple Music.

Apple is planning to launch a direct rival to Spotify and other services to maintain its dominant position in music, which is threatened by a decline in download sales. The new music streaming service, expected to be announced at its developers’ conference next week, would allow users to stream songs instead of buy them.

“Music-industry executives see Apple’s launch as a watershed moment for streaming music that could move the technology from early adopters to the mainstream,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Apple’s new streaming service would charge $10 a month, people familiar with the company’s plans told the WJS. Apple Music costs $9.99 a month for individuals, $4.99 a month for students, and $14.99 for a six-member family. The service offers a three-month free trial.

3. Apple Watch

Apple is unlikely to announce new hardware changes for Apple Watch. There have been few details as to what features the company has baked into watchOS 3, according to Mac World. Trip Chowdhry, managing director at Global Equities Research, told CNBC that a software development kit (SDK) is coming to the Watch.

According to the report from Mac World, the Watch is useful as a fitness tracker, and users will welcome improvements such as automatic exercise-tracking similar to Fitbit’s SmartTrack feature. “Automatic pausing would also be great, so you don’t have to force press on the watch face to pause a run with sweaty fingers,” the publication noted.

4. Apple Pay

Apple is planning to announce Apple Pay for the Web at WWDC 2016 next week, challenging Paypal Holdings Inc’s  online payment service. The online version of Apple Pay will support online transactions. The payment service, which would be available on selected retailers’ websites, will make much easier for iOS users to purchase products online using Touch ID, according to a report from Digital Trends.

According to the report, Apple’s new payment system for the web would be a tough competitor for PayPal, which is a big player in the online payments market. The company offers a mobile payment service for websites and apps, called One Touch. PayPal is the most favorite online payment system among online retailers. The report notes that over 250 out of the top 500 online retailers use PayPal for online transactions. The Digital Trends report, however, mentioned that Apple Pay will be much easier to use on iOS devices.

5. Hardware

According to the rumors mill, Apple would unveil refreshed Retina MacBook Pro models at WWDC. A report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that the Retina MacBook Pro refresh won’t happen until the fall of 2016. It is possible that the company could reveal a new Retina MacBook Pro at the event and release it later in the year.

Investors Worry About Apple’s Future

Investors seem to be worried about slowing iPhone sales as well as disappointing Apple Watch sales as the stock has dropped by over 14% during the past six months. They now really want to know what’ll be the company’s future in the coming years.

“[Investors] want to know what Apple’s future will look like two-to-three years from now,” he said. “They want to know how Apple fits into the Internet of Things space,” analyst Ives said.

Earlier this year, billionaire investor Carl Icahn sold his stake in Apple, because he was concerned about the company’s prospects in China.

Analysts at Mizuho Securities believes that Apple should try to acquire a media company such as Netflix, Inc.  or Time Warner Inc . The analysts also said a research report that the company should stay away from making a buyout offer for Tesla Motors Inc or Bayerische Motoren Werke AG , noting that a large acquisition would pose risks.

To offset slow sales in China, the iPhone maker is looking at India where wants to open its own retail stores. But analysts believe that India is unlikely to replace China in the U.S tech giant’s revenue stream. CEO Tim Cook recently made a long trip to India, which was seen as a failure.

According to Ives, the iPhone maker could focus on augmented reality project since it confirmed the purchase of Munich-based Metaio, which makes augmented-reality software.

Shares of Apple’s stock have been struggling this year. The stock has dropped by 23.18% during the past 12 months. Ives said that it will take something dramatic for a considerable rise in the stock following the event.

“If it’s a yawner, and we get some new products but no new hints, it’s going to be hard for the stock to go significantly higher,” the analyst told CNBC.

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