What to Watch This Week: iPads, Cheap Smartphones, Retailers, RVs, and Pics in Space
There's never a dull moment on Wall Street. Let's go over some of the items that will help shape the week that lies ahead.
1. The iPads are coming!: Living up to the hype, Apple (AAPL) unveiled the new iPad last week.
The real circus begins on Friday, when the high-tech tablet hits retailers. The initial allotment of preorders ran out shortly after Apple introduced the new device, so you can expect the usual scene of folks camping out and waiting in long lines to grab one of the first ones.
The new iPad will sell at the same prices as the previous incarnations, but it packs plenty of sweet upgrades, including a speedier processor, improved graphics, and a better camera. Folks paying an extra $130 for models featuring wireless carrier coverage will now have 4G LTE connectivity.
Apple is making things interesting this time around by keeping its entry-level iPad 2 model around, slashing its price by $100 to $399.
How big will the new iPad be for Apple? Well, keep in mind that the iPad 2 sold 15.4 million units during the holiday quarter, even though most buyers knew that a better model was just months away.
2. Androids can be bargains: The new iPad's 4G LTE models will operate on the country's two largest carriers -- but not Sprint Nextel (S).
Sprint is still trying to catch up to the 4G LTE platform, but it's not as if last year's 3G iPad ran on Sprint either.
However, what Sprint fails to gain in new iPad sales next week, it will hopefully make up for with the ZTE Fury.
The new Sprint-exclusive smartphone hits Sprint stores this week at a price of just $20 after a $50 rebate. Obviously, you'll have to sign up for a two-year contract to get that price, but there's plenty of power in that $20 purchase.
The ZTE Fury runs on Android Gingerbread, powered by a speedy Snapdragon processor, and offers up to four gigs of internal memory that can be easily expanded. The phone also has hotspot capabilities, so it can do double duty as a wireless router to get approved WiFi devices online.
3. Retailers straggle in: Earnings season is powering down, but there are still more than a few companies left to report.
Since many retailers have fiscal years that conclude at the end of January, several will be checking in with their holiday-quarter results. Some chains reporting later this week include Urban Outfitters (URBN), Ross Stores (ROST), rue21 (RUE), and PacSun (PSUN). All except Urban Outfitters are expected to post improving bottom-line results.
4. Eye in the sky: One of the more intriguing companies to report this week is GeoEye (GEOY). It may not be a household name yet, but there's a good chance that you rely on the company's products.
GeoEye takes high-def satellite images of the world's terrain, which it sells to commodity prospectors, defense companies, and mapping companies.
You're probably more than familiar with that final category: Search engines, smartphones, and GPS devices often rely on GeoEye's "out of this world" photography to enhance their turn-by-turn navigation services.
5. Moving house: This can't be an easy time to be Winnebago (WGO). Gas prices are spiking, making it very expensive to own a house on wheels.
The economy is showing signs of life again, but the recent recession has probably set more than a few retirements back, postponing dreams of traveling around the country in an RV.
But Winnebago is actually still profitable. Analysts see the iconic RV maker posting a quarterly profit of $0.02 a share. Unfortunately, giving investors their two cents' worth is far short of the $0.11 a share that the pros were expecting.
How is Winnebago's driving? We'll know for sure when it reports on Thursday.
Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not owns shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Winnebago Industries and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and GeoEye. Motley Fool newsletter services have also recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple.