Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Apple’s stock has tanked over the past week, falling from a high of $644 to under $600.By itself, this is no big deal–Apple has often swooned before, especially after surging to new highs the way it has recently done.
(And Apple’s recent surge has been an absolute moon-shot, from $~400 to nearly $650 in only a few months, so it was obviously due for a pullback.)
We’re not worried about Apple yet: The fundamental performance and catalysts that made us think this would be a great year for the stock are still in place, namely blockbuster iPhone sales, a new iPad, and the expected launches of the new iPhone and iTV.
We weren’t planning on getting worried about Apple until the fall, when 2013 is only a few months away.
Why are we planning to get worried about Apple then?
Because 2013 will be the first year that Apple’s new products won’t have been shaped by Steve Jobs. It remains to be seen whether Apple will be able to create the same “sex-in-a-box” magic without Steve, so we’re going to be biting our nails early next year.
But we’ll also confess to getting a bit nervous right now.
First, the Apple zealots have gone silent. Earlier, we reported a fact that could be construed as negative for Apple–that iPhone sales had plunged 24% quarter over quarter at Verizon–and we weren’t immediately attacked by a band of crazed fanboys. Normally, that happens within seconds of saying anything that isn’t orgasmically pro-Apple.
Second, Apple is not backing off on the flawed gimmick known as Siri–instead, it is doubling down. Apple is now paying celebrities zillions of dollars to hawk Siri on TV, when even Apple fans have gotten so frustrated with the feature that they’ve basically stopped using it.
Siri is not ready for prime-time, and we suspect that Steve Jobs would have understood that, ripped the Siri product team’s faces off, and then either killed Siri or fixed her. The new Apple, without Steve, hasn’t done either. Instead, it has commissioned even more expensive advertising to hawk a product that doesn’t work.
Apple’s commitment to the current version of Siri, in our opinion, is not a good sign of the company’s discipline post-Steve.
So we’re worried about that.
In any event, thanks to its recent swoon, Apple’s price-earnings ratio is back down to 17X. If the company chokes its quarter or issues a disappointing outlook, the stock could obviously go a lot lower. But 17X just isn’t an outrageous PE for a company growing this fast with this growth outlook. So we’re not panicking. Yet.
Click image for Apple’s secret plans for its forthcoming Apple TV:
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