Apple Ready To Bounce Back On New Growth Driver

| About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

The education sector is expected to contribute massively in Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) next round of growth. The company has worked hard over the last few years to make sure it is well known that education is a big part of its mission. Apple's senior VP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said at an Education Event last year, "Education is in Apple's DNA."

Apple broke its own sales records in the education in 2012, according to TMCnet. Apple's stock is expected to bounce back strongly.

In the third quarter the Mac hit an all time high sales numbers when it came to the education market, but the iPad did even better. Apple's signature tablet actually outsold the hugely popular Mac by a 2-to-1 margin. This was hardly an outlier, as it was the second straight quarter in which iPad numbers had doubled those of the Mac computers.

In more good news for Apple, the iPad in the education market saw a doubling, year over year in sales in the third quarter. Apple says that the iPad sold just under one million units to the education market in the third quarter of 2012 alone. During the earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed just how well iPad sales did. "The adoption rate of iPad in education is something I'd never seen from any technology product in history," Cook said.

Market data in the June quarter showed with certainty for the first time ever that Apple's iPad is replacing sales of traditional PCs to schools and students, according to Needham & Company.

Popularity of iPad with students and instructors helped Apple break its own education market sales records last year. "Clearly, a significant portion of iPad sales represented an expansion of the market," Charlie Wolf with Needham & Company said. "But in view of the fact that Mac sales held steady at around 520,000 units but overall PC sales declined by 265,000 units from 1.90 million to 1.64 million units, we believe the inescapable conclusion is that the iPad is beginning to cannibalize a material portion of PC sales in this market."

"In our view, the education market is the canary in the coal mine," Wolf wrote. "The next market the iPad is likely to impact is the much larger U.S. home market."

Students fast adopting Tablets and Smartphones

According to a recent national survey, access to mobile technology in the classroom has more than tripled among high schools students in the past three years -- and even more interesting, parents say they are more likely to purchase a mobile technology device for their child if it's for classroom use.

Use of tablets and smartphones by K-12 students has hit 50%, according to an analysis released in October, 2012 at the Wireless EdTECH conference by Blackboard and Project Tomorrow. The report, "Learning in the 21st Century: Taking it Mobile!" found 50% of high schoolers and 40% of middle schoolers use smartphones or tablets on a regular basis. In November, more than 500 educators attended the iPad Summit hosted by Ed Tech Teacher at Harvard Medical School.

With several education systems adopting Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) cloud based solutions, it appears Apple's prospect in the education sector is huge. The Kentucky Department of Education has selected Microsoft to bring a cloud-based service, Live@edu, to more than 700,000 students, faculty and staff statewide.

The service has already been rolled out to more than half a million people in one of the largest cloud deployments and fastest migrations of all time. The state says it expects to save $6.3 million in operational costs over four years by moving to the cloud with Live@edu, which is a no-cost suite of online services. Users are accessing information in the cloud through Internet-connected smartphones and tablets, apart from PCs.

Apple's Stock Ready to Bounce Back

With the gap between the Bollinger Bands has been narrowed, a new rally is certainly in the cards for Apple. Any breakout above the level of $546, the 50-Day SMA, should be considered the beginning of a new uptrend. RSI and MACD indicate that the stock is preparing ground for a brand new rally.

Last October I predicted on Seeking Alpha that Apple could test $500 with VIX trading near historic low levels. That prediction came true. Apple consistently took solid support at $500. VIX spiked up at the end of December, 2012 before flattening out in the last few days. This is indicating that the volatility is over. I expect Apple to cross $600 very soon and recommend buying the stock around $500.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in AAPL over the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.