Traversing new lanes

We hold this truth to be self-evident: progress continues at Apple.

Moving to some sort of celestial metronome, Apple regularly releases software updates for its iPhone, Watch, iPad, TV, and Mac products.

Like last week.

Despite all the reporting, analysis and speculation that appears about Apple—right, wrong, or indifferent—there’s one thing we can be sure of: the company will continue implementing to its vision.

Both short-term and long-term. Apple will keep on keepin’ on.

However, developing software updates for its existing iconic products is the least difficult thing to imagine when divining what’s going on behind the scenes at Apple.

What other lanes might the company be traversing?

Gaining traction

We know that there’s a new iPhone on the way. It’s virtually certain that a new form-factor iPad is in the works. We’re certain that upgraded Macs are on the horizon. We can infer that Apple is not done moving its TV vision forward.

Beyond that, we don’t know much. There’s some chatter about a Siri-powered home deviceaugmented reality, and automotive tech—to name a few things.

Obviously, at tech-52, we remain interested and will continue to read the tea leaves as best we can.

In the course of our efforts lately, we’ve noticed a bit of sea change among the tech press and analysts with regard to Apple’s leadership, and by extension, its overall business.

In short, Apple’s getting more respect. The pundits who like to bash Apple are fading into the ether. And Apple is gaining traction where it had, for a long time, lagged behind: the stock market.

Knowing what we know today, that statement might seem suspect, but bear with me for a bit.

Law of big numbers

For the last several years, Apple has had a product line and a balance sheet that would be the envy of practically any CEO on the planet. Where Apple continued to get dinged, however, was on its lack of innovation and shrinking revenues.

The law of big numbers would be Apple’s demise, according to pundits. And Apple’s flagging innovation would guarantee its long, slow decent into has-been status.

Sure, Apple’s huge war chest and popular product lines would sustain it for awhile, but the company would eventually decline and shrivel.

That line of thought affected Apple’s stock price, as well. Despite the fact that the company was the most valuable in the world based on market capitalization, and that its PE ratio was the lowest compared to other profitable technology companies, Apple’s inevitable failure to grow and innovate meant that its stock prices would remain depressed.

AAPL and the market

Back, however, to what we are seeing lately—this newfound and wider regard for Apple, and for its stock price.

Those aforementioned long-time Apple watchers might remember back to headier times when pundits predicted that Apple (AAPL) stock would break the $1000/share barrier and soar beyond even that. The iPhone and iPad were spectacular hits, and the other product lines were doing well.

Those predictions preceded the Apple malaise that followed, during which, you might recall, Apple did a 7:1 stock split. The stock split brought Apple’s stock price down to around $90, which meant that more investors could afford to buy it. It was a savvy move by Apple, and took pressure off the company for all those stratospheric valuations that it failed to attain.

Over the last year, however, AAPL stock price has risen from $90 to where it currently sits at this writing: over $153. What happens when you multiply that by seven? The adjusted pre-split price today would be—wait for it—$1071.

Well, what do you know?

What’s important is what’s next

For me, a long-time stockholder, that’s good news, but it is also a side note to what’s important about Apple, at least in my view.

The company has always had the mantra that if you build great products, the financial side will take care of itself. Focus on products customers will love, Apple’s leadership has maintained.

I’ve heard Tim Cook and others on Apple’s management team say this over and over. Steve Jobs, when he was still alive, said it.

It’s paying off in spades.

What’s next for Apple? We know that the iPhone still has legs, and the rumored 10th anniversary of the iPhone is just around the corner.

There’s all manner of rumors, speculation, and leaked images that suggest the iPhone 8, as it’s being called, is going to be special.

Certainly, those rumors have helped the stock price. But that can’t be the only reason.

Coming soon

The upcoming Apple Worldwide Developer Conference in June should give us a look at some of the new innovations at Apple.

Rumors include a Siri-powered speaker that will put Apple in competition with Amazon’s Echo line of voice-activated AI assistants. There also a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with all the latest bells and whistles.

We’ll likely also get a preview of Apple’s next major operating system versions—iOS 11, macOS 11, and possibly new major versions of watchOS and tvOS.

Whether we’ll get to see what Apple’s been working on with respect to augmented reality and automotive technologies is another matter.

The bottom line from this viewpoint is that Apple is alive and well and poised for the next wave of insanely great technologies.

I’ll be watching.