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Will potential health concerns hurt the Apple share price?

The Apple share price [AAPL] has gained 9.7% in 2021 to date, closing 6 July at $142.02. After a fast start that saw the Apple share price gain 7.9% in the first four weeks, it then fell significantly to close 8 March at $116.36, 12.31% below its price at the start of the year.

The Apple share price then struggled until early April, but a sharp rise saw it close 9 April at $133, roughly where it opened the year.

Sustaining this level through to mid-May, the Apple share price then fell to $122.77, 7.5% below where it opened the year. However, the Apple share price has since been on an upward trajectory that has seen it gain 14% in just under two months. Its 6 July close leaves the Apple share price just short of 53% above the level it was trading at 12 months ago.


Apple's YTD share price rise


But will Apple’s recent warnings about the safety of its devices have an impact on the Apple share price forecast?


A health scare

Apple has recently extended health warnings on a wide range of its products in an updated support document.

Apple had previously issued guidance specific to the iPhone 12 that read, “though all iPhone 12 models contain more magnets than prior iPhone models, they're not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than prior iPhone models.”

Now however, the technology giant has rolled out health warnings on all Mac and MacBook models, all AirPod models as well as their charging cases, Apple Watch and its accessories, all iPad models and their smart covers and keyboards, Beats X, Flex, PowerBeats Pro, UrBeats3, HomePod and HomePod Mini.

“Though all iPhone 12 models contain more magnets than prior iPhone models, they're not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference to medical devices than prior iPhone models” - statement from Apple


The associated language has become starker, too, with the new wording warning customers to “Keep these products a safe distance away from your medical device.” The document was published on 25 June 2021. That day, the Apple share price fell 0.2%.

Apple’s explainer says that the magnets contained in its devices and their associated electromagnetic fields could disrupt the performance of certain medical devices, “For example, implanted pacemakers and defibrillators.”

These devices contain sensors that respond to magnetic fields, as well as radio fields, and as such the close proximity of one of the affected Apple devices could disrupt its proper functioning. The guidance recommends the relevant products are kept at least 6 in/15cm away from any such medical devices, or double that if charging wirelessly.

There seems to be more behind this health scare than Apple’s previous in March 2019, when a Medium post on the supposed cancer risk posed by AirPods and other wireless headphones was referenced on several online news platforms. On the day the story circulated, 13 March, the Apple share price fell 0.4%.


Value stocks bearing fruit

Established big tech companies such as Apple are enjoying a relatively strong run during 2021 compared with less-established, but potentially more innovative, companies.

The SPDR Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund [XLK] tracks an index that corresponds to the technology sector of the S&P 500. As the S&P 500’s largest stock by market cap, it is no surprise that the Apple share price is an influential factor in fund’s performance: as of 7 July, it was the fund’s top holding with a 21.89% weighting.


Apple's weighting in the SPDR Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund


The BlackRock Future Tech ETF [BTEK], by contrast, focuses on “companies developing innovative and emerging technologies.” This doesn’t include Apple, although it does include one of its main competitors, Samsung [006400.KS]. As of 7 July, Samsung was the fund’s sixth-largest holding with a 1.70% weighting.

The SPDR Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund has significantly outperformed the BlackRock Future Tech ETF with the former climbing 16.2% to the latter’s 6.1% gains. SPDR Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund currently trades at its highest level in the year, thanks to the Apple share price and other established, value stocks over-performing as global economies have reopened.

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