The much anticipated Apple (AAPL) iPad tablet computer was released today across the country. The device, which has been hailed as revolutionary by many and useless by a few, could have a huge impact on the technology and consumer electronics sectors. If successful, the product could open up a whole new market for content producers who have been struggling to increase sales in recent years. Many firms have already jumped onto the iPad bandwagon, including Electronic Arts (ERTS) (which will offer five games for the iPad’s release) and the New York Times (which will offer an app to readers in order to view its content on the device).
Regardless of the product’s effect on content producers, the product will unquestionably put significant pressure on Barnes and Noble and their nook device as well as Amazon’s Kindle which is cost competitive with the new Apple product.
While the iPad is still in its infancy, it could have a large impact on both the technology sector as well as Apple’s stock price. In fact, Trefis, a company specializing in allocating stock prices to specific products in a company’s lineup, has already given 4.3% of their projected value of Apple to the iPad product, projecting 4 million units sold in 2010.
We’re generally hesitant to speculate on the impact of company-specific developments on more broad-based ETFs, but the launch of the iPad has the potential to reshape the industry. “This beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop,” writes Walter Mossberg. As initial sales reports and consumer reviews continue to trickle out, look for the following technology ETFs to be in focus in coming months:
iShares S&P Global Technology Index Fund (IXN)
IXN tracks the S&P Global Information Technology Sector Index which follows global technology companies. The fund holds 118 companies and Apple makes up 7.7% of the total portfolio. The fund is up nearly 4% in 2010 and charges 0.48% for an expense ratio.
Select Sector Technology SPDR (XLK)
XLK allocates nearly 9.3% of its total assets to Apple while holding positions in 84 other firms. It focuses on mega cap companies and has a weighted average market cap of $117 billion. The fund is up marginally in 2010, posting a gain of just 0.6%. However, the fund charges one of the lowest expense ratios in the category at only 0.21%.
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Technology Index Fund (IYW)
IYW focuses on technology companies in the United States by tracking the Dow Jones U.S. Technology Index. The fund allocates just over 10.4% to Apple and it holds 168 other firms in its portfolio. IYW is evenly spread out between technology hardware (55.5%) and computer service firms (43%). The fund is up 1.5% this year and charges an expense ratio of 0.48%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.