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Apple News: iPhone 6 Will Resemble iPod Nano, iTunes Radio Beats Spotify, Secret Loyalty Program Expands


Plus, an analyst upgrades Apple stock because he believes the iPhone 6 will be a big hit and money-maker for the company.

iTunes Radio Has 8% of US Streaming-Music Market, Ahead of Spotify After Only Six Months

According to Edison Research, Pandora (NYSE:P) still leads the streaming-music market with a commanding 31% market share, but Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes Radio has made great gains since its debut last September, taking 8% market share. That is right behind the second-place streaming-music provider iHeart Radio, which holds 9% of the market. This leaves Spotify, with 6%, in fourth place, and rounding out the top-five is Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play All Access, with 3%.

Analyst Upgrades Apple, Claiming iPhone 6 Will Be a Huge Boon to the Company

This morning, Andy Hargreaves, an analyst at Pacific Crest, upgraded Apple from "outperform" to "sector perform," giving the stock a $635 price target (as of this writing, the stock traded at $537.50 per share). Why did he upgrade Apple, when so few analysts are doing the same? Hargreaves believes that the company is going to release a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in the fall, and that it's going to be a big hit for the company.

Hargreaves says that Apple will charge $299 for the phone (with a contract), which is $100 above the price of the current flagship iPhone, the 5S. He thinks the big screen will attract a lot of customers ready to upgrade, and that Apple will see a subsequent boost in both sales and earnings.
Additionally, the Pacific Crest analyst does not think that Apple will introduce two phones again like it did last year. This means that Apple wouldn't debut a bigger, 5.5-inch phablet like some rumors have suggested.

The iPhone 6 May Resemble an iPod Nano Mixed With a 5C

This morning, the Japanese blog Macotakara published a report detailing Apple's plans for the new iPhones to come out later this year. That's right, plural. Unlike Andy Hargreaves, Macotakara writer Danbo predicts that Apple will launch a 4.7-inch iPhone as well as a 5.7-inch model., citing "sources that can be trusted."

Danbo expects these new iPhones to be high-end models of the current 5C, though they will likely be made with anodized aluminum like the iPod Nano, not plastic like the 5C. Sources said that the new models are, at least in design, a cross between the the iPhone 5c and the seventh-generation iPod Nano, which is pictured below.

Sources told Macotakara that the new phones will not be replacements for the 5C, but rather high-end models. So, iPhone 5 is to iPhone 5S as iPhone 5C is to iPhone 6, at least according to "sources that can be trusted."

Apple's Secret Loyalty Program Is Expanding

If you've ever spent over $5,000 on Apple products in one year, you know that the company has a secret loyalty program that gives discounts to big-time Apple buyers. The program works with a tier structure: Red Tier is for customers who spend over $5,000; Green Tier is for those who spend over $35,000; Blue Tier is for those who spend over $200,000. According to TechCrunch, loyal customers in every one of those tiers will now see even greater discounts thanks to an expansion of the program.

For example, on Mac computers, the Red Tier discount has reportedly increased from 5% to 6%, and is now 8% for Blue Tier customers. Additionally, unlocked iPhones and Apple TV have been reportedly added to the list of discounted items.

Consumers are, of course, unlikely to see these discounts: They are mostly targeted at institutional buyers, such as companies and schools.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
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