Apple's massive base of devices, loyal users at heart of Credit Suisse upgrade

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Credit Suisse analyst Shannon Cross raised her rating on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to outperform on Tuesday largely on details associated with the company’s massive base of almost 2 billion installed devices.

Cross said that such a high number of devices in use gives Apple (AAPL) a unique position to “accelerate market adoption” of the company’s software and services with a fiercely loyal, and huge universe of customers. Cross said that at the core of Apple (AAPL) success remains a philosophy that has colored its business since Steve Jobs was its chief executive.

“[Apple] management focuses on high customer satisfaction by improving ease of use, product quality and continuity between devices,” Cross said. “[This results in] high product value and repeat customer engagement.”

In addition to raising her rating on Apple (AAPL) to outperform from neutral, Cross also boosted her price target on the company’s stock to $201 a share from $166.

Apple (AAPL) shares ended Thursday just below their breakeven point at $173.03 apiece.

While Apple (AAPL) has long-been known for producing devices that are amongst the most-popular in the industry, the company has in recent years done something to make its investors as happy as its customers: delivered consistent dividends along with large-scale stock buybacks.

Cross noted that in its 2021 fiscal year alone, “Apple (AAPL) returned $100B to shareholders via dividends and share repurchases,” and the company also raised its its dividend for the 10th consecutive year to go with $90 billion in stock buybacks.

But, even a company as successful as Apple (AAPL) isn’t completely immune to the whims of the economy, as the company has reportedly cut 100 contract-based recruiters who had been responsible for finding new applicants for the iconic tech giant.

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