Later today, Apple has an invitation only event scheduled at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco (10 am Pacific time). Apple has confirmed that the meeting will have a music theme, but beyond that it’s anyone’s guess as to what will transpire at the much anticipated event (some believe the 9/9/09 date is an indication of big things to come). While we don’t have any inside information, here’s a look at several possible scenarios, as well as some speculation on how today’s meeting at one of the world’s most talked about companies may move technology ETFs.
Steve Jobs Returning?
Steve Jobs is one of the world’s most famous CEOs, and his health has a huge impact on the share price of Apple. Jobs received a liver transplant in Tennessee earlier this year, and went on sick leave in January. Should he make an appearance (or even deliver the keynote speech at the event) and appear be in decent health, investors (and Apple fanatics) would no doubt cheer his return. Jobs has started driving to work again, a good sign, but we think Jobs may be looking to maintain a low profile and focus the spotlight on other talented members of Apple’s management team. Odds: 25-1
This scenario seems to be the most likely, given that September is traditionally the month new iPods are announced and many music lovers think the device is due for an upgrade. That being said, iPods are making up an ever shrinking portion of Apple’s sales due to their ubiquity and lack of growth prospects, not to mention Apple’s increasingly diversified product base. Still, many expect either the introduction of a camera (or some other gadget) for the iPod or the death of the iPod classic. Odds: 2-1
Since returning to work, Jobs has reportedly worked closely on Apple’s highly-anticipated pocket-sized touchscreen computer. The chances of a Tablet unveiling are very slim, especially since Apple has confirmed that Wednesday will be a music-themed event. Many sources say that the Tablet is still a couple of quarters away, due out sometime in early 2010. Still there are a few diehard Apple fans who believe a Tablet is right around the corner, and that the ads and speculation are designed to throw people off. Odds: 100:1
Another possibility that plays off of the numerical symbolism of 9-9-09 would be the release of iTunes 9. There has been much speculation that a new iTunes version is close, and this development would certainly fit in with the music theme of the event. There are rumors that the new iTunes will have some sort of Blu-ray disc support, as well as better organization of apps and a vague reference to social media involvement. This particular possibility has been flying under the radar, but given the recently popularity of social media, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to see Apple get more involved in the segment in the future. Odds 10:1
Beatles On iTunes?
This one is rather unlikely, but not completely impossible given some other events happening today. First off, Beatles: Rock Band, almost certain to be a smash hit, debuts on all major gaming systems. Also scheduled is a major release of all Beatles albums ever produced (digitally remastered), which has already sold out on Amazon.com. These two items, along with the symbolism of the date of 9-9-09, may create the perfect storm to announce the release of the Beatles songs on iTunes. After all the Beatles certainly did like the number 9. While unlikely, it would certainly make for a day of Beatlemania. Odds 20:1
ETF Plays On the Apple Meeting
Some ETFs that have large holdings in Apple stand to be modestly impacted by today’s events (sign up for our Free Daily Newsletter to stay up to date on ETF plays for all current events). These ETFs are great for investors who want some exposure to Apple but want diversified exposure to the tech industry as well. No matter what happens at the event, look for shares of Apple and the ETFs that hold those shares, to be heavily traded ahead of and during this highly anticipated meeting. A look at some Apple-heavy ETFs:
- PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQQ): Holds a 13% weighting in APPL.
- SPDR Select Sector Technology Fund (XLK): Apple accounts for almost 8% of XLK’s holdings.
- iShares Dow Jones U.S. Technology Index Fund (IYW): Allocates 8% of its holdings to Apple.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.