Apple certainly knows a thing or two about making headlines. In fact, they did it again on Wednesday.
This time Apple is grabbing attention because of it’s new iPod Shuffle that takes its "smaller is better" mantra to a whole new level.
The third-generation Shuffle, a slim aluminum rectangle less than 2 inches long, takes up about half as much space as the previous version even as it doubles music storage space to 4 gigabytes. To achieve such a tiny form, Apple had to remove most of the buttons from the body of the $79 device and build them into the headphone cord instead.
"Smaller has tended to work very well for us," said Greg Joswiak, a marketing vice president at Apple.
Since the device can carry 1,000 songs, Apple has come up with a way for people to identify the music they're listening to or find songs they want. A new feature called VoiceOver can, at the push of a button, speak the song and artist name or rattle off the list of custom mixes -- called playlists -- that the owner has loaded onto the device.
The new Shuffle, which comes in silver or black aluminum with a shiny stainless steel clip, is set to go on sale Thursday.
For further insights we turn to Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, one of the Street’s most widely followed Apple analysts.
Munster tells us "innovation is really important to the MP3 space and this could add 1% to Apple's total business." As a result he’s raising EPS estimates to $5.09 based on the new gadget.
"Apple is all about innovation," says Munster and he expects to see even more of it in the days and months ahead. In the summer Munster expects to see a new iPhone and then a new tablet computer later in the year. (However, he thinks it will be more like the Kindle and not an e-book as others speculate.)
In case you're wondering Munster maintains a ‘Buy” rating on Apple with a $180 price target.
What do the traders think?
Apple at $93 is probably fairly priced, says Guy Adami. But if the tape turns it could go higher.
I think every sell-off is an opportunity in Apple, adds Pete Najarian. It was trading around $80 a few days back and that would have been the time to get in.
It’s a great stock but having run up so far so fast I’d wait, says Karen Finerman.
I own Apple for the long-term, adds Zach Karabell.
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Trader disclosure: On Mar. 11th, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Adami Owns (AGU), (BTU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE); Najarian Owns (GDX), (MSFT); Najarian Owns (COF) Call Spread, (FCX) Call Spread, (GS) Call Spread, (PCU) Call Spread, (X) Call Spread, (XHB) Call Spread, (GLD) Put Spread; Najarian Owns (MS) & (MS) Calls; Karabell Owns (AAPL), (BHP), (FCX), (FXI), (GOOG), (GLD), (GE), (JPM); Finerman's Firm Owns (MSFT); Finerman's Firm Owns (DNA) & (DNA) Calls; Finerman's Firm Owns (WFC) Preferred; Finerman's Firm Own (RIG); Finerman Owns (WFC) Preferred; Finerman's Firm Is Short (BBT), (IYR), (IJR), (IWM), (MDY), (SPY), (USO)
Piper Jaffray Is A Market Maker In The Shares of (AAPL)
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