It's no secret Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) been under some serious heat of late. After peaking at just over $700 a share this September, Apple's share price has seen more down days than up since then, fueled in part by a Q4 earnings miss, which alarmingly has become more the rule than the exception for the iEverything maker.
However, even with the clouds looming large over Cupertino, this pullback hasn't dampened the Apple bulls' enthusiasm. In fact, at the $560 that a share will set an investor back, it's probably only strengthened that conviction -- especially considering a recently released survey supporting the Apple "party line." It looks increasingly likely that Apple is poised for another monster holiday season.
The season to be jolly
Of course, one of the key consumers during the holiday season is children. What they want, what's "in" now, has a tremendous effect on which companies win and which lose in the all-important holiday fourth quarter. Thankfully for Apple, the annual adolescent survey from market researcher Nielsen (NYSE: NSLN ) should give Apple investors some early holiday cheer. In its recently released annual survey of most prized holiday gifts among young consumers, Apple chalked up another strong performance, claiming three of the five most coveted spots among children ages 6-12.
Apple's iGadgets fared slightly less well among adolescents ages 13 and up, but it still claimed the top spot in this age group.
These results are eerily similar to last year's survey results. In fact, aside from a challenge from Nintendo's recently launched Wii U platform, Apple's hand seems to have largely strengthened from last year.
At the same time, the dynamics of the tablet market that Apple has long dominated have never been more competitive. Both Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) now have viable options at relatively modest pricing points in their Nexus and Kindle Fire HD tablets. There's also the new entrant from the 800-pound gorilla in the space that is Mircosoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) . Although probably less likely to steal market share, especially among minors to whom marketing from Apple proves especially compelling, Microsoft does present the first legitimate threat to the effective mobile operating system duopoly that iOS and Android currently enjoy.
Deja vu all over again?
Remember, Apple also found itself in an equally precarious position headed into last holiday season, only to knock its quarterly earnings out of the park. Again, this entire argument is far from scientific, but it certainly serves as another feather in the cap for the Apple bull thesis.
Tomorrow is Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. It also very well could be the day that Apple once again flexes its muscles as the true king of consumer tech. Investors, take note.
There is absolutely no argument that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever, and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with more than 1,000% gains. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and, more importantly, your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.