Apple Inc. (AAPL) Gets An Upgrade

investApple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced that its chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer, will be leaving at the end of September after 10 years as CFO and 18 years altogether at Apple.

He will be replaced by Luca Maestri, Apple’s current vice president of finance and corporate controller, who was formerly the CFO of Xerox.

Some observers believe Maestri may have been picked, in part, because of his knowledge of international markets. The Street thinks it is a sign that Apple may be using more of its $159 billion in cash to expand internationally, especially in China.

According to recent studies, Apple is the most desired brand of smartphone in China as well as in other emerging markets, including India, Vietnam, Brazil and Nigeria. In a survey, 42% of cell phone buyers in China would like to buy an Apple for their next phone.

How many of those buyers can actually afford an iPhone is another question.

Apple currently has 7% of the Chinese cell phone market, an increase of 6% from a year ago.

Apple announced that CarPlay (which it had formerly been referring to as “iOS in the car”) will be rolled out in “select cars” for sale later this year.

At least 15 auto makers have signed on to offer CarPlay in their vehicles at some point down the road. Apple describes CarPlay as a “smarter, safer and more fun way to use iPhone in the car.”

On March 7, comScore announced that in January of this year, Apple was the top smartphone manufacturer, with 41.6% of the original equipment manufacturer market.

Google, however, was the leader in platform usage, with 51.7% market share. Overall, 66.8% of mobile phone users in the U.S. used smartphones, an increase of 7% from October.

Rumors swirled about Apple’s next phone, the iPhone 6. There could be 90 million phones manufactured this year.

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