Apple’s Metaverse Prospects Produce Real Optimism for Investors

Apple Inc.

AAPL 1.68%

may not have triggered the current buzz about the metaverse, but the company is reaping the benefit.

Excitement about how the iPhone maker could gain from a broad embrace of digital alternate realities has been a central facet of the rise in its share price in recent months, according to investors and analysts.

Apple earlier this month briefly became the first corporation ever valued above $3 trillion during intraday trading. Investors and analysts say they are betting that Apple will introduce extended reality devices in the next year or so and open up potential for a new leg of growth in coming years.

The company, for its part, says little about future plans, though Chief Executive

Tim Cook

has praised such technology in recent years and said it would be a critically important part of Apple’s future.

Interest in the metaverse has gained new momentum since Facebook co-founder

Mark Zuckerberg

announced on Oct. 28 that he was renaming his company

Meta Platforms Inc.

to highlight its push to capitalize on the nascent world of virtual reality and augmented reality, known as VR and AR. While Meta’s share price has gained 7% since then, Apple’s has soared 18% to $175.08 on Tuesday.

Analysts think Apple could extend its ecosystem of hardware, software and services into the metaverse.


Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Longtime Apple analyst Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley last month upgraded her price target for the company’s stock to $200 a share from $164 to bake in future value tied to those product lines.

“New product categories need to get priced in,” she wrote in a note to investors on Dec. 7. “In conversations with venture-backed AR/VR companies, the consensus view is that the real catalyst for mass market AR/VR adoption will come when Apple enters the market.”

The metaverse so…