(Editor's Note: This is a contributed piece from wearable tech expert Julien Blin. It first appeared on Facebook and Blin has published another version on Medium. It has been slightly edited.)

2014 again marked the confirmation that the wearable tech and IoT space is vibrant, legit and here to stay, with the emergence of new innovative startups, successful exits (e.g. Basis, acquired by Intel), and the official entry of Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) into the space with the launch of the Apple watch. 

First, what happened in 2014?

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 16:51 pm and is filed under .
Keywords: Wearable tech, Intel, Facebook, IoT, Apple, Apple Watch

(Editor's Note: The numbers of the model portfolio have been adjusted to reflect the final closing prices for 12/31/2014, including a steep market selloff in the waning hours of 2014, probably due to tax-loss selling.)

It's the last day of the year, so it's time to update the results of our annual tradition, the Rayno Report Portfolio, our stock picks for the year. The Rayno Report Portfolio had a great year with an return of 17.5%, beating the average indices including the S&P 500 Index, which returned 11.30%  

The total return was boosted by about 2% if you include dividends, making the total return of the portfolio about 20%

Where does the model come from? I've been building model portfolios since 2004 based on a proprietary stock selection portfolio that looks for healthy, growing companies with relatively low valuations. It's based on a basic low-PEG (Price/earnings/growth) formula. It uses a proven, quantitative model based on the work of outstanding fund manager Joel Greenblatt. Once I have a list of promising, low-PEG companies, I dig further into the individual companies and trends. This approach is designed to provide good returns with lower-than-average risk. 

A big part of our portfolio's success this year was tied to mobile networks and Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL), which we've been telling people has been undervalued for years. Apple had a great year, up 45%, boosted by a new product cycle and stock buybacks. But the biggest story in our portfolio was Skyworks Solutions (Nasdaq:SWKS), a big wireless chip supplier to Apple and others, which rose 166%

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at 15:37 pm and is filed under .
Keywords: Apple, stocks, Rayno Report Portfolio, Skyworks Solutions

Investment bank Cowen & Co. is raising its price target and outlook on Apple Inc. (AAPL) based on a survey of 4,500 adults in U.S. and China that indicates strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and 6+.

Cowen has raised the Apple price target to $110 from $106. Cowen is modeling sales of 120 million iPhone 6/6+ units in the first 12 months, which is above Wall St. consensus, and Cowen analysts believe those projections may be "conservative," according to a research note published this morning by Cowen analysts Timothy Arcuri and Bryan Prohm.

The survey of 4,500 adults in the U.S. and China indicates that battery life, screen size, and chip speed of the new iPhone models are strong drivers for upgrades. 

This entry was posted on Friday, September 19, 2014 at 13:51 pm and is filed under Mobile.
Keywords: Apple, iPhone, iPhone 6, Battery Life, Android

The legendary band U2 came on stage at the end of the Apple Extravaganza this week, introducing the world to a pair of iPhone 6 models (big and freaking huge I think are the product names), Apple Pay and the Apple Watch. The band’s had a rough go of it recently. Their last release, No Line On The Horizon, disappointed both fans and critics and it seemed like they might have lost their relevance.

This is a band that has defied age and found ways to make themselves new again and again. Had time finally caught up with the band? Potentially, and it frightened them. Bono was quoted saying U2 didn’t want to be a heritage act. Being contemporary was much more important, he said. But it wasn’t easy. “To be relevant is a lot harder than to be successful,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. So making money isn’t the way the band judges itself. After all, U2’s latest tour broke records in terms of attendance and revenue, yet they still craved relevancy. 

This entry was posted on Friday, September 12, 2014 at 15:11 pm and is filed under Mobile, Digital Media, Investing.
Keywords: Apple, Apple Watch, Tim Cook, U2, Bono, Apple Pay

Wait, what? The Apple Watch (AAPL) doesn't work without an iPhone? Isn't that like requiring me to operate my oven in order to use my toaster?

As Apple states simply in promotional materials: "The Apple Watch will require the iPhone to work." Yes, you can tell the time with it, but most of the advanced features, and anything requiring cellular connectivity, will require you to pair it with an iPhone.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 14:02 pm and is filed under Mobile, Digital Media, Investing.
Keywords: Apple, Apple Watch, iPhone, Jony Ive, Samsung

Apple shares enjoyed modest gains this morning after a solid earnings report yielding $10.3 billion in cash flow for the quarter. The stock rose $1.50 (1.5%) to $96.22 in early morning trading. 

For the fiscal third quarter ending June 28, 2014, Apple posted revenue of $37.4 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.7 billion, or $1.28 per diluted share. That compared to revenue of $35.3 billion and net profit of $6.9 billion, or $1.07 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. More importantly, the company's margins are back on the rise: Gross margins climbed to 39.4 percent compared to 36.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook said that iPhone and Mac sales fueled the growth and resulted in the strongest profit growth in seven quarters. The company returned $8 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during the June quarter.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 14:05 pm and is filed under Mobile, Investing.
Keywords: Apple, Tim Cook, iPhone, Earnings, Carl Icahn

The Rayno Report model portfolio, based on an analysis of growth stocks that trade with a reasonable valuation based on a price/earnings/growth (PEG) ratio, continues to outperform the major indices with an average gain of 14% this year (or 14.4% to be exact).

In January we announced our new picks, as we do every year. The portfolio has a record of beating the market overall since 2004, and it has never had a down year. Our lower risk PEG-based model portfolio has roared ahead this year, showing the staying power of an approach that uses valuation discipline. The overall 14.4% gain on the portfolio would have been achieved with a fully invested portfolio. With only 50% of the cash invested, (as we recommended at the start of the year), the portfolio would be up 7.2%. 

In contrast, the S&P 500 Index is up 6.18% year-to-date (YTD), which means the portfolio beat the S&P 500 even if half of it had been kept in cash. This adheres to our lower risk approach of investing less as the market climbs. 

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 14:51 pm and is filed under Investing.
Keywords: Model Portfolio, Stocks, Apple

Apple’s former founder Steven P. Jobs  said customers wanted to own their music. Not anymore. Music downloads are slowing, which may be behind Apple (AAPL) attempt to make a big new music deal.

There are two numbers that you need to pay attention to in order to make sense of Apple’s rumored acquisition of Beats Electronics. Neither of them is the alleged $3.2 billion price. The numbers are 13.3 and 800 million.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm and is filed under Digital Media, Investing.
Keywords: Apple, Beats, Music Downloads, Music Streaming, Spotify

The buzz of the morning is Apple is considering Buying Beats, the fashion-driven headphones company founded by producer and rap artist Dr. Dre and music mogul Jimmy Iovine. And lots of people think Beats headphones are terrible, with mediocre manufacturing quality.

There are a lot of critics out there. The Beats-hating is so real that there is a Website called Beatssuck.com. Check it out.

Of course, the deal is just a rumor at this point. Reports say Apple is considering offering $3B+ for the company, which also has a streaming media service. What's interesting is that almost every news article makes a reference to the universal disdain for the quality of the product.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 09, 2014 at 11:32 am and is filed under Digital Media, Investing.
Keywords: Apple, Beats, Dr. Dre

This morning Apple Inc. established more world domination in the apps market, announcing it had generated over $10 billion in revenue in the Apps Store in 2013.

Apple cited hits like Ellen DeGeneres’ Heads Up, ProtoGeo’s Moves, Simon Filip’s Afterlight and Kevin Ng’s Impossible Road. It also credited some big hits such as Candy Crush Saga, Puzzles & Dragons, Minecraft, QuizUp and Clumsy Ninja, as well as naming some "developers to watch" including Duolingo (United States), Simogo (Sweden), Frogmind (UK), Plain Vanilla Corp (Iceland), Atypical Games (Romania), Lemonista (China), BASE (Japan) and Savage Interactive (Australia).

Given the importance of the developer community to the emerging mobile ecosystem, as we stressed in our Open Source Gone Wild story from this morning, this is a significant sign of Apple's health in the mobile app market. However, investors were non-plussed, as Apple sank about $5 on the news, recently trading around $539. 

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 07, 2014 at 20:50 pm and is filed under Mobile, Digital Media, Investing.
Keywords: Apple, App Store, Developers, Smartphones, Tablets