Is Apple Microsoftening?

Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) recent iPhone news was disappointing. Gone are the days when Steve Jobs' announcements would galvanize fans with some amazing new features or groundbreaking new products. The iPhone 5 news felt "meh." Even the previously interesting concept of the iPhone 5c not only left a lot to be desired, but there's also good reason to believe it's simply a fail.

Is Apple Microsoftening? In other words, will it end up like Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) , with once-mighty advantage eroded as the company's supposed innovations continue to fall short of the amazement we became accustomed to under much of Steve Jobs' reign?

Holding Apple with guarded optimism
I bought shares of Apple for the Prosocial Portfolio I manage for Fool.com mostly because it had become incredibly cheap (check out its 52-week high); at some price levels, buying shares of great companies is difficult to resist.

It was also improving some of its social aspects, which has weight for inclusion in the portfolio. I still don't believe it's particularly overvalued, but we shouldn't underestimate the missteps it could make, and should keep our eyes on the developments.

For a while there, Wall Street and general investors seemed to be pessimistic to the point of thinking Apple was going to do a swan-dive into nothingness, and common sense tells us that certainly isn't the case. Apple still has many beautiful, well-designed products and extremely loyal customers.

However, the recent iPhone hoopla indeed turned out to be "meh," if not worse. The biggest shocker -- and logic disconnect -- is that the supposedly "cheaper" iPhone 5c is actually $549 without subsidies. From the consumer side, that makes no sense if they're not getting the cheaper deal through a plan.

Why pay for a phone with fewer features made of cheaper (albeit colorful) materials when, if you shelled out just a little more money, you could get the high-end version? That's not customer-friendly -- it's friendly for Apple's profit margins. That's a chilling sign that bears watching, because those are the kinds of profit-driving tricks that eventually can make consumers very mad.

Microsoftening
Why am I bringing up the possibility of Apple's "Microsoftening" in competitive advantage? Long ago, Apple was a niche player -- albeit possessing an extremely loyal fan base. Microsoft had a major advantage, to the point of being viewed as downright monopolistic, both by consumers and government antitrust entities.

What a difference time makes for the biggest, most powerful companies, though. Once Bill Gates let go of Microsoft's reins and Steve Ballmer took over, Microsoft's brand eroded and now feels like an afterthought in tech. The stock plunged in 2000 (cue up Ballmer's entrance), and it has been an unimpressive investment since. In fact, if one bought shares in the beginning of 2000 and held on until now, that person would have lost 25%.

Sadly enough, today it seems that Microsoft could have some of the most beautiful products in the world, and only diehard Microsoft fans would even notice. (Talk about the shoe on the other foot these days.) It just doesn't have the brand cachet.

Still, receiving a string of lackluster product announcements from Apple sticks out like a sore thumb compared with the Jobsian days. It could find itself on the same trajectory.

Meanwhile, when it comes to the iPhone, the stakes are high. Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Android has plenty of users, and many view it as a formidable rival to Apple's iPhone. For example, much has been made about Samsung's ability to stick it to the iPhone with its Android models.

Reports of Apple's death ...
Despite concerns, I'm not arguing that Apple is dead or that it's time to sell. I even continue to think it's a fine time to buy. Apple may not have the pizzazz it used to possess, but so far, its products are still popular and admired.

Studies have shown that customers are more loyal to the iPhone than they are to Android. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners said recently that 81% of iPhone users bought another iPhone in a one-year period. Only 68% stuck with Android when they went to switch.

Meanwhile, more Android users defected to iPhones during the period, far outpacing iPhone users who switched the other way. Of iPhone users, 20% were snatched away from Android's universe.

That says something about the beauty of Apple's iPhone user experience. Steve Jobs may have been hard about his walled garden of approved apps and so forth, but the setup created a seamlessness that makes the product great.

Right now, Apple is trading at 11 times forward earnings and sports a PEG ratio of 0.60. Even if some of Apple's forward growth projections end up being lower than currently expected, Apple is a better investment than Microsoft, which is trading at 11 times forward earnings as well and has a 1.36 PEG ratio. Apple still has one of the strongest brands we have, and Microsoft's struggles to reinvigorate its brand present an issue.

All is not lost. But Apple may be in danger of losing some of its advantage. Perhaps our growth expectations should be tempered down a bit until it delivers some real thrills. Apple's not going away, but it needs some really big ideas, not just profit-boosting add-ons or even disappointing product extensions.

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Read/Post Comments (59) | Recommend This Article (25)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 10:48 AM, Cuftbll wrote:

    How the iPhone 5Cs selling? Sounds to me like very well and just wait until the holiday season. 10-18 year olds are going to love them.

    Apple is building an ecosystem. The ecosystem can only be built on the right customers. You don't need everyone. You need people that have the means to spend cash in that ecosystem. That isn't a guy living in a mud hut in India or a guy working in the fields in China. They don't have extra cash to spend on the ecosystem.

    You think the cable companies are going to release some the power unless Apple can show they can make money too by doing so? Very similar to why big companies are signing advertising agreements with ITunes radio. Those companies know what kind of customers Apple has in the ecosystem.

    Nike and Apple are so similar in the way they run their business. Nike has an ecosystem that has proven unstoppable. They sell shoes at a premium and could care that not everyone can afford them.

    Critics bemoan Nike all the time, but...go into any elementary or jr high and you see kids wearing Nike gear. Matter fact the two constants that you see in this environment is kids wearing Nike gear and using Apple products.

    And what to you know Apple and Nike have a very tight relationship.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 11:00 AM, applefan1 wrote:

    What a stupid article. Here's what Apple is doing that Android and Windows ISN'T. 64 bit OS and hardware.

    Superficially, it doesn't LOOK much different, but Google nor Microsoft have announced 64 bit OS and hardware in a smart phone.

    It will take Apple two more years to get their ENTIRE line transitioned to 64 bit and it will take less than that to have all or most of the apps at 64 bit.

    If Apple announces a nice large screen model in 6 months or so, they'll capture a huge market in large screens.

    The other thing is they are going after the corporate/government buyer with fingerprint ID technology which appears that they nailed it.

    Since they are opening up DoCoMo and soon China Mobile, I expect they'll be selling about 30% more phones over the next year, maybe more if they squeeze out a large screen model.

    In order for Android to compete, they have to get the OS to 64 bit, which I've heard NOTHING in that area. Yeah, with the new processors they can have either a 32 bit or 64 bit OS on these newer ARM chips they are working on, but Apple has 64 bit, NOW. Android will take another 8 months to a year, or longer, and this is depending on when Google is going to announce a 64 bit OS, and if they can have 64/32 bit apps with dual binaries. Since nothing has been announced from Google, I don't know if Kit Kat is 64 bit, if it isn't, then expect them to go 64 bit, in about a year or longer, even if Samsung releases these newer processors, the OS won't be 64 bit.

    Windows phones? NOPE, nothing from Microsoft on transitioning to 64 bit.

    I think the new iPads will be announced in Oct and they'll have the regular iPad at 64 bit, I don't know if the iPad mini will be, but if it is, those should sell like hot cakes especially since 64 bit apps, mostly games and higher end s/w will be available and this will just solidify Apple as the leader for the professional markets.

    Apple doesn't want to go after the low end market which doesn't make any money from both hardware sales, but follow on sales. People that buy low end, don't spend any money so they'll leave it to the others.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 11:20 AM, mdl00 wrote:

    A series of attacks that are... well... foolish, against Apple from this site - trying to drive down the share price and then buy in?

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 11:25 AM, Aaplbear wrote:

    Low price phones won't help Apple, and maybe will actually hurt. But 5" iPhone will definitely help. Why it makes it's customers wait endlessly? Apple is technically capable but has lost vision for obvious customers' needs.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 11:47 AM, Jeffrey8186 wrote:

    I think Apple hit it just right. Apple doesn't make cheap products. If they made a plastic cheap iPhone that anyone could afford then the comments would be how quality has gone down since Steve Jobs isn't here. I remember when the iPad was first announced. Everyone thought it was too expensive for what you got. Now the PC market in general is smaller as tablets take over.

    I know several people that would love a new iPhone and not last years model. They can buy the current model and the colors are nice. And I totally agree with the comments on 64 bit OS. There will be comments in the future on how the other plaaywrs were late to that party.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 11:51 AM, antibasher wrote:

    It's not fair to mislead your readers based on nonsense assumptions. You said "there's also good reason to believe it's simply a fail" What's the reason? and what's the belief? The only reason I see is there are too many expectations from Apple. People want to be surprised with new products and innovations all the times. You have to be realistic and stop expecting chocolate tree from Apple. Apple is a great American company that's very innovative and will not give up its prestige by listening to some money hungry investors...

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 12:01 PM, RaulR2 wrote:

    What a campaign of stupidities about Apple!

    I never seen so many uninformed experts try to come off as informed experts with knowledge that no one else has.

    Don't be impatient, just wait next week to acknowledge the tons of Iphones sold by Apple in the first weekend. This will be the real test, not the misconceptions of Misek&Co (this site included) of how much "expensive" are the new iPhones..

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 12:08 PM, antibasher wrote:

    And What's wrong with Microsoft? Is it an insult now? Without Microsoft/Apple you would be writing this article in a type writer... Most of great business applications are written with Microsoft development tools. Microsoft is probably hated because they're not involved and don't care about Wallstreet politics.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 12:15 PM, antibasher wrote:

    The real question is: Will Apple become a manufacturer for China by building cheap phones?

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 12:26 PM, Jjkiam wrote:

    People forget that even the much hallowed SteveJobs faced the same derisive negative reception from the analysts when he announced the IPod and the Iphone and the IPad ! In fact there has NEVER been an Apple release in mobile that wasn't completely panned by the analysts. Just look at the history to confirm this. Look at the analyst response to the 4s or the 5 and it should be no surprise that the new 5s and 5c have received simar treatment. First there is the meme that the phone are disappointing and then that is quickly followed as with Peter Misek a few days later that this product that no one will want is not going to have severe supply constraints because the yields on the fingerprint scanner is Sooo low. As if we haven't seen that line last year. Or the year before or the year before. Wow I guess Apple forgot to check on how to produce the new scanner and just went ahead with it anyway! Duh when will people learn that all these so called analysts are incredibly reliable to act like sheep and keep the negative meme running. This will be followed in Oct with more negative responses to the tablet refreshes and any other new announcements Apple might have in store. Except by then we will see whether the actual public response has once again created another new record amount of sales for Apple.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 12:26 PM, spakklal wrote:

    Suppose Apple were to also go after the low end. What the hell would it really prove? Why does Apple have to keep going downstream because some couch analysts think Apple can grab huge chunks of market share. Isn't it possible that Apple may not want to do that. Apple isn't exactly fighting for survival. Do analysts really look at the automobile market and start complaining that Porsche doesn't sell cars below a certain price range and predict the death of the company? I honestly don't understand this fixation about market share. Can't different companies decide what their most important goals are without every armchair analyst offering their opinion about what a company needs to do to maintain relevancy. Samsung has always been a rival destroyer because the company is run by chaebol families that have always been destroyers of other businesses. Does Apple really need to be that greedy to survive? Should Porsche really go after Kia market share? What would be the point if that's not the type of vehicle Porsche chooses to build?

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 12:31 PM, 512ke wrote:

    You just have to exercise a tiny bit of common sense.

    Apple has a hot product, the iPhone 5, which is still selling like hot cakes in August 2013 after not hanging been updated for a while.

    Apple improves upon that hot product, by making it sexier, giving it a new operating system, increasing its power, lengthening its battery life, and improving its camera significantly. Oh and also they lowered the price.

    What do you think is going to happen ? Duh. It's a sellout product.

    I'm buying more APPL. You wise analysts can say and do what you want. I'll have your warmed over crow waiting for you to eat lol. :)

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 12:42 PM, MartinMTurner wrote:

    The media have jeered a large number of Apple announcements, and I'm sure they will jeer others.

    Apple has just introduced the most powerful smartphone ever, with features that only existed in films five years ago. On the other hand, it didn't include some features such as NFC which already exist on some Android phones.

    If Apple had included all those Android features, then people would have said it was copying. As it didn't, people are disappointed.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 12:43 PM, larryw101 wrote:

    Another useless and Apple bashing article by a Motley Fool writer.

    I hope you get your few pennies a post for those who hit this story.

    Motley Fool has lost more credibility with me from articles such as this than I can put into words.

    Shame on MF, and on you A. Lomax for such slanted and nonsense journalism.

    PS. I would suggest pursing some other career.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 12:54 PM, Sookey9090 wrote:

    Blah Blah Blah....

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 1:14 PM, antibasher wrote:

    Are you fool? Oh you work for one... Here's what I suggest. Sit back and relax for about one hour and clear you mind from any thoughts. Then take your article and read it again like you're working for those fools...You'll realize that it doesn't make sense.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 2:02 PM, Jason91789 wrote:

    All you bears are trying to bring down the stock. Just wait and see next week when the new phone go on sell the number will be huge. With the new Fingerprint feature so many government and corp company will be buying this phone. China and Asia will be buying also because people there get rob so often for their phone. Now the criminal will think twice of doing so. I'm glad Apple didn't go cheap, I own the stock I believe Apple did the right thing. If you want cheap don't buy Apple buy Nokia. Look at where no Nokia is at.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 2:38 PM, GameBot wrote:

    """ 10-18 year olds are going to love them. ""

    umm, tweens and teens are buying the vastly cheaper android and windows phones.

    Lumia 520 for $99 just crushs all other options if you want a very low cost smart phone.

    Buy it and stick a standard 10 cent a day Sim from Tmobile into it. Sure there is no data plan but free wifi is everywhere.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 3:31 PM, bobbydig wrote:

    Is Samsung or Google paying your guys to write this crap? I think so and its time the internet turns on Motley Fool and shut down this misleading site. Anyone who follow MF advise is a FOOL.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 3:33 PM, applefan1 wrote:

    A Lumia 520 for $99, is that unlocked? If it is, that's a phone that loses money for Nokia (now Microsoft), the parts alone without labor, without packaging, without shipping, are going to cost at least $60 for a phone like that and they have to sell it to someone for at least a 25 to 30% profit margin to the phone store. By the time they add in all of the other costs, that phone loses money. Microsoft just thinks that they'll make up profits lost on the phone from app and content sales. But how much money do these Lumia 520 users actually spend a year with Microsoft's app and content stores during the when they own the product?

    And Nokia got bought out because.......................? They weren't making any profit. Hmmm. I think Nokia had a $5Billion loss last year. Can't stay in business long if you are losing money.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 3:39 PM, applefan1 wrote:

    Alyce isn't a Finance Major or even a Computer Science Major, she was an English Major. So she's not that bright when it comes to analyzing a business or a high tech company. I used to work for a software company where the CEO was a English Major with no computer education other than being in the industry. he was the biggest A-Hole, idiot I've ever worked for. His idea of team playing is doing something unethical and illegal to get business. What a scum bag he was. But, I wasn't THEIR type of team player, I didn't play their stupid games.

    She has ZERO experience in the high tech industry.

    And she writes columns for Motley Fool? Wow, I hope MF isn't paying her.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 3:43 PM, Jason91789 wrote:

    Don't be Fool by this these type of article they are trying to make you sell the stock so they can buy it cheaper. Wait and see how well the phone sell, just the new Fingerprint feature will make the phone sell well. My family are trading all our 4s for the 5s. That alone is a total of 3 phone sold already from us. Apple is Quality.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 3:54 PM, Trololololo wrote:

    Alyce, I completely disagree. Sorry for my long post, but I urge you to read it. I think too many analysts and pundits are viewing Apple and its latest announcement superficially, not understanding what they infer, and most important, not seeing some groundbreaking innovations from Apple that are about to hit, innovations hiding in plain sight.

    I ask your patience and the willingness to read on, and to invest time looking at some linked articles. If you are an Apple investor, or contemplating an investment in Apple, these are important. Thanks. I hope these articles and my two essays below will give you some insights that Alyce, and some others at MF have completely missed (something that irks me no end - we pay a lot of money for their insights and guidance, and here, Alyce Lomax and Ron Gross have failed us). Here goes:

    Yesterday, I listened to the MDP audio, "MDP Live: The Real Story With Apple’s New Products."

    http://newsletters.fool.com/30/coverage/extras/2013/09/12/md...

    I finished listening to the entire recording and shook my head. While MDP supports Apple as part of its portfolio, I came away realizing that the trio on the podcast totally are missing the impact of this week's and the earlier Apple World Wide Developer Conference infers for Apple and its future.

    MDP and Wall Street is fixated on the new iPhones and pricing. I think they are completely off the mark, and have missed some key developments that Apple is almost hiding in plain sight, developments that have the potential to leapfrog Apple to yet another level. They are developments that point to where Apple is headed, the tremendous hidden value in Apple's stock price, and a hint of highly disruptive innovation to come.

    Apple is hardly finished innovating. But the pundits and analysts of Wall Street and elsewhere are completely missing a potential tsunami that Apple is rolling out in the next two years that could change retail, your living, room, health care, fitness, inventory management and other sectors. What will drive this aren't so much new products, but the software and hardware technologies within them, and a new communications standard that could have profound impact.

    That is why I am so disappointed with Ron, Dave, Mike and Rich's podcast. Their analysis was extremely superficial, and failed to grasp developments that could benefit your members.

    I'll quickly say that I am not worried about the pricing for the iPhone 5C. Apple does not want to play the game of commoditizing its products - that is a desperate act of a company that can't differentiate its offerings. Besides, any time Apple chooses, it can cut the price of the 5C. That's easy. But I don't expect this to take place for six months. But if you read the headline about Walmart, you saw that the two companies agreed to allow Walmart to sell the iPhone 5C and the the 5S at 10 percent off the retail price.

    Besides, if Apple cuts the price of the 5C to unsubsidized customers in China and elsewhere, analysts will scream that Apple is lowering its margins, and cut their ratings. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Pick your poison.

    Below, I've pasted in two essays I wrote this morning about Apple and some very quiet developments that have the potential to transform how Wall Street eventually sees the value of the company, something that a smarter mind like Carl Icahn has already done. It will show you how clueless Wall Street analysts are, and why I am disgusted with them and the punditocracy. Three writers, Mike Elgan, Daniel Eran Diliger and Horace Deideu, who closely follow Apple have provided some excellent insights recently. If you are going to do your homework on Apple as investment, I urge you to follow them.

    Below are my essays, insights and links to some articles that I hope will help Apple investors. I urge you and fellow Fools to read these three articles about some developments.

    _____________________

    On Apple and why it is an underestimated investment for the next five years

    See:

    In response to Mike Elgan's article on iBeacon, "Why Apple's 'Indoor GPS' plan is brilliant"

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9242393/Why_Apple_s_i...

    and Daniel Eran Dilger's article, "iBeacons enhance apps location"

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/06/19/inside-ios-7-ibeac...

    Also see, Mike Egan, "5 Reasons Why Wall Street is wrong about Apple":

    http://www.cultofmac.com/245415/5-reasons-why-wall-street-is...

    My response:

    Very exciting. Google has tried unsuccessfully to evangelize NFC in the US, while NFC has had adoption in Europe and Japan. Apple is quietly inferring that NFC is a dead-end. With the ability to function only at 1-2" with success, it is somewhat limited. IBeacon can do much more and at a standoff distance.

    The trick will be evangelizing this and makng it an industry standard, not just an Apple standard. Visa and Mstercard have invested a lot into NFC, and getting them on board will be critical, as will be true for American Express, Discover, Square, Paypal, airlines, transit systems, stadiums (NFL, MLB, NBA, concert promoters, movie theaters, department stores, such as Walmart, Costco, Target, Macy's and others). Hospitals could adopt iBeacons to know where a doctor is within the facility.

    iBeacons could track track merchandise in stores such as Walmart, to update inventory automatically, and even detect theft.If you apply enough imagination, there is no end of how low power Bluetooth and iBeacon technology could be har employed.

    If Appple can successfully evangelize iBeacon with these large players, this could dramatically change retail, people management, theft detection and prevention, healthcare, merchandise and inventory management, transportation, package tracking and more.

    It comes down to the partnerships that Apple can nurture with the key players who could make or break this technology and initiative. iBeacon's future rests not just on the technology, but the deals and partnerships that can be cut that could assure its future as the standard instead of being handcufffed by the limits of NFC technology.

    Apple can't innovate? My ass.

    _________________________________________

    Apple, iOS7, the A7 CPU, 64-bit computing and what it means for Apple Investors

    A must-read for Apple investors: " The Most Forward Thinking Apple Yet"

    http://cannyvision.com/2013/09/12/the-most-forward-thinking-...

    My essay on my thoughts about Apple, iOS7, the 64-bit A7 CPU, the M7 co-processor the AppleTV and what it means for consumers and investors.

    I just read a really good and somewhat wonky article on the Apple A7 CPU and what it means. While I roll my eyes about the FUD that the A7 is nothing but marketing fluff at the moment "it won't be useful, because the iPhone won't have more than 4 GB of RAM, so the advantage of 64-bit computing is wasted."

    I call BS.

    Maybe the iPhone 5S does not YET exceed 4 GB. But it will be much more battery efficient, because the A7's 64-bit architecture means it won't lean on the battery quite as much, given that it is more efficient, both given that it is based on the latest ARM architecture, and the virtues of 64-bit computing.

    But here's what is important: the A7 points to what the next iPad will be like: a business, finance and scientific powerhouse. I would not be surprised if Apple rolls out a new iPad that DOES address more than 4 GB of RAM. Now for the kicker, the most important thing in the article: because iOS7 is now 64-bit, as noted in the article, it will be relatively trivial for developers to port MAC OS-X business ess and science apps to iOS.

    Stop and consider that.

    If Steve Ballmer won't play nice and offer Microsoft Office for iOS, Apple could blow past the cork-soaking bastich. I would not be surprised if Apple puts iWork on steroids for the iPad. But it gets better. If developers can recompile and port over OS-X apps for business, science, finance and more, and I'm talking about apps that are industrial-strength, not the cutesy little App Store apps, but software that really needs 64-bit power, and they update the APIs and user interfaces to optimize their programs for iOS and the iPad, and also use the ability of iOS to naturally work with the Internet to make automated workflow calls to outside databases for lookups, big data and heavy crunching, there s no end of what the next and future iPads can do.

    The losers in all this: Microsoft and Dell. Suddenly, the power advantages of the traditional PC and Windows will diminish. I have a hunch that Intel won't sit still, and it appears that the company is FINALLY getting its act belatedly together on low-power chips after completely blowing it.

    The point is that 64-bit on the iPad, and on the iPhone is a bigger game-changer than analysts and pundits can comprehend.

    Add to that the fact that the iPhone and iPad will suddenly be amazing game devices. I don't mess with games myself, but it's a huge business. The M7 chip will not just make the iPhone into a wonderful device for the gym. It is the first step towards managing wearable devices. It can help a car know whether you are falling asleep at the wheel. Or drunk. The smart car of the future, which will run iOS, will stop if it detects either. The iPhone, iPad and the M7 will be the gateway to medical devices for an aging population, as it may be possible not just to track all types of movement, activity and sleep patterns, but also heart rate, blood glucose levels, insulin levels, blood pressure, possibly stress and more. All this could be automatically added to health monitoring apps, but could automatically be shared with electronic medical records that your physician(s) could use to monitor a patient's health and recommend appropriate actions/treatments without an appointment. This could also flag whether a patient could be nearing or experiencing a medical emergency, and take instant action.

    Then there is the AppleTV. If it is powered by an A7, and can run a variant of 64-bit iOS, imagine what this little black box will do. The next AppleTV will be able to run games on your TV with amazing speed, rendering g speed and resolution. An AppleTV App Store, something many have speculated about, now becomes a more practical possibility. Suddenly, you have an inexpensive home entertainment device that rivals the XBox or a Sony Playstation, with easy access to games, all updated in the cloud. The revenue stream for Apple on games alone could be huge. And if Eddy Cue and his team pull off more content deals with the networks and pay channels, the capability of the AppleTV will experience the network effect of becoming g more indispensable for consumers.

    That's just the start. Add to that the power of the 64-bit iOS enabled iPhone and iPad that can interoperable with the new AppleTV, add n the M7 chip, and you have devices that make incredible game controllers based on gestures. If Apple ties in a wearable device that can also interoperable with the AppleTV, gestures can take on a new dime siob to control what is shown o the TV and the AppleTV interface. Changing channels and other tasks that now use the horrible remote devices wil improve dramatically. TV will become dynamic, Apple can penetrate the game business in a big way, and personal, as well as bus ess presentations will take on a new level of sophistication and ease of use, especially as 4K TVs become cheap and ubiquitous.

    Sorry Gene Munster, you don't get it. Apple is not going to produce a TV. It can't win that game. But for a fraction of a TV's selling price, Apple can change the entire TV game, and how consumers think of a TV. It proves to me that analysts like Munster can't think out of the box. They are useless blowhards, and distract from Apple's true stock price value. Ugh. But I sense that the Carl Ichans of this world u dear stand that, and are patiently biding their time, buying Apple shares on the cheap.

    So it's not just games, fitness, health and healthcare and TV. It's that the iPad and iPhone will soon be capable of operating at the level of the Mac, thanks to the A7 and future generations of the 64-bit A series CPUs, additional RAM they will soon address, and the increasing power of iOS.

    Tim Cook is not an idiot. All this time, Apple has been laying the ground before our eyes for the next big wave of inventions. But the pundits, bloggers and analysts are too stupid to comprehend the invention tsunami that is the rumbling background noise they fail to hear, and fail to see coming. But wash over the world it will. Sooner than we can comprehend.

    Read this article linked above. The pieces are coming together. The next two years from Apple will be huge.

    Note: written on my iPad after too much coffee. The writer apologizes for his typos.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 4:31 PM, shenoy2206 wrote:

    I think Alyce has written a well balanced article just listing pros and cons of the Apple approach. It is just the opinion of an MF writer and not the opinion of the Motely Fool in general. I think the point here was "Should the iphone 5C be so closely priced to Iphone 5S".

    Another point made in the article "Apple is trading at 11 times forward earnings and sports a PEG ratio of 0.60. Even if some of Apple's forward growth projections end up being lower than currently expected, Apple is a good investment"

    There are many other Wallstreet analyst that are negative about AAPL. What is important is what is your GUT. Do you like the company and want to buy more of that stock? It is a personal decision. The job of MF is to give you both the pros and cons.

    If everybody feels great about AAPL stock would you be able to buy it around $467 that is yeserday's price. Infact I am happy the price has come down so Fools like us can BUY more

    I loved the opnion of few other columnist here. What stuck best is "Apple is like a Porshe" in Phones.

    Long AAPL...

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 4:52 PM, larryw101 wrote:

    As I stated earlier, I think Ms. Lomax needs to find another profession. And, based upon the other reader comments posted here, so do many others.

    The article is very slanted and shortsighted.

    Shame on Motley for not screening these articles better.

    Motley use to be a good source for financial information but not any more I'm sorry to say.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 5:10 PM, Cuftbll wrote:

    The trade in program and the resulting refurbished iPhones are for the emerging markets.

    Enough of the bigger screen nonsense. Please. The Apple iPhone has been the most popular phone in the world for years. They have the size correct! Look how popular the 4 and the 4S are still and they are smaller than the current phones. Phablets are plain dumb and desperate.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2013, at 9:50 PM, daninkeller wrote:

    Is Apple Microsoftening? Please God, make it stop. Another cutesry title with a rewrite of the same pointless crap: share growth is more important than profit, blah, blah, blah.

    Wish someone would write an article, "Is the Fool Yahoo-ing?"

    Long term Apple. Next time I see Apple at 400, I'm double downing.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 9:20 AM, JKramarz321 wrote:

    "Gone are the days when Steve Jobs' announcements would galvanize fans with some amazing new features or groundbreaking new products."

    I'm not sure those days ever existed!

    Every product S Jobs introduced was met with criticism, including the first iPhone.

    I recall many people criticizing the first iPhone because it was only 2G speed, or because you can't change the battery easily. Every phone he introduced after that was also "more of an evolution, NOT a revolution".

    So, check your hindsight. It's not always 20/20.

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 12:38 PM, TMFLomax wrote:

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you shenoy2206 for reading my article until the end and pointing out that I never said these things WILL come to pass. Simply that they could and I found the idea more worrisome after the announcement last week. I try to analyze/assess risks even for stocks/companies I like. That's where the English major actually IS helpful -- it involves analysis and deconstruction and a bit of human nature (and psychology) that one can find in literature. Challenging oneself on a company/stock is a difficult thing to do when you respect a company -- but trust me, I truly believe we should all challenge our own bullishness (or bearishness) at times.

    Does anyone remember what happened at Apple when John Sculley took over? (There are currently articles about an interview with Sculley, where he admits not having recognized visionary leadership, which is interesting, although he is blaming the board for letting Jobs go.) That's also the kind of worry I refer to about the dangers of someone other than Jobs at the helm (which seems Ballmer-ish IMHO). Jobs was a true visionary. Although occasionally new products were criticized and misunderstood as some of you recollect, he obviously did have a vision of what people didn't even know they wanted. Sadly, we cannot bring Jobs back. Tim Cook has very big shoes to fill.

    I have owned Macs ever since I got out of college in 1992. I have never owned a PC at home. I have an iPod and iPhone. I am one of the people who switched from an Android to the iPhone, and I am SO much happier with the iPhone's capabilities. The seamlessness is wonderful. I also pointed out the data that shows apparently many people feel that way about their experiences of Android vs. iPhone, and Android suffers more defections than the reverse.

    And I never said it was a not a buy at these levels. The crash it experienced from its highs was greatly irrational pessimism -- this is not a company that was going out of business, and I'm not the only one who noticed many traders/investors seemed to suddenly believe something like that. But it could be a company that loses advantage if it just "adds on" to existing products.

    Trololololo, please don't feel regret about the length of your post. Obviously I tend to have large word counts as well. Obviously you are passionate about Apple and have done your homework and research and you were also respectful in your disagreement, so thank you for adding your thoughts to the discussion.

    Oh and one more thing, since this seemed a concern to many of you: yes, writers and analysts here at The Motley Fool have very different opinions on stocks. We are not required to be lockstep (which is a feature, not a flaw). Discussion and even disagreement are helpful in analyzing investments. I highly respect my colleagues even when some of us strongly disagree about companies' futures.

    Best regards,

    Alyce

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 5:51 PM, corpgov wrote:

    Wow, I don't recall seeing such attacks on Alyce for any past article. I thought it was well-thought out and balanced. It is hard to deny that Apple is loosing the wide moat it had around some of its products, such as the iPad.

    Yes, 64-bit is a great move but it is a move for the future. It will probably be a six months or a year before most of us will feel we need to upgrade because there is some software that uses 64 bits that we "need."

    I love the fingerprint security system. Good move. But Apple will need at least another size or two and, of course, we're all still waiting for the watch and TV. These things take time if done right.

    I haven't pulled out a dime and continue to buy from the Apple universe of products but I think they could spend a little more on R&D in order to stay in the overall lead.

    China's mobile company Xiaomi is changing models much more quickly based on feedback from the phone's consumers. To succeed over the long-term, Apple needs to build in more feedback mechanisms from users and needs to be quicker in making modifications (without losing reliability).

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 5:55 PM, VBFlyer wrote:

    I agree with md100. This would be a great time for you to put out some bad news, wait for the price to get hammered, then buy in, all the time knowing that when Apple inks the final deal with China Mobile, with over 700 million subscribers, the stock should rise dramatically. Those of us who understand Apple are buying the products, not just for their cool appeal, but for the fact that Apple has done such a great job of integrating all the products. I think you have underestimated the worth in that.

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 5:59 PM, Milligram46 wrote:

    How care you question Apple.

    Death to the infidel!

    Death to the infidel!

    Death to the infidel!

    Death to the infidel!

    Death to the infidel!

    Death to the infidel!

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 6:08 PM, eldetorre wrote:

    1-Fingerprint tech just unlocks the local keychain. BFD Just insures everyone will forget their passwords to everything.

    2-Fingerprints can be copied. Much easier than reading someones mind for their password.

    Apple has NOT innovated in years They are packagers of technology not inventors anymore. The last thing they truly invented was firewire.

    They rely on their dubious patents (round corners? Realy??!!) and fickle consumer tastes to maintain their advantage.

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 6:15 PM, chilero wrote:

    It is scary to read the comment section after someone dares share even a somewhat a negative opinion on Apple products. Imagine if the writer was actually critical.

    One good reason to hold Apple shares: the fanaticism of its fan base is without parallel.

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 6:18 PM, Robko8 wrote:

    The new iPhone 5s will be a screaming game player. Why does this matter? Most downloaded apps are games. Apple uses one GPU architecture. The latest Samsung will be using three different GPUs in different parts of the world. This is not just a geeky factoid. If you are a game developer, how many architectures can you afford to support? There is a reason that ecosystem is an important concept. It's just easier for tech writers to pronounce that the 64 bit architecture of iPhone 5 is a gimmick. Oh - except when Samsung announces it will someday have it. Then it's called brilliant.

    Just like the pundits called the iPad an overpriced trinket, the fingerprint unlock is now called "meh". I predict it will be an important differentiator that will be hard to imitate in a way as seductive as Apple has implemented it. It's important to connect the dots between amazing technology and customer delight. Apple has repeatedly brought technologies to market that consumers didn't even know they wanted. This is why Microsoft's focus group approach has been no match to Apple's pioneering approach.

    The camera: more and more people are using smartphones as their primary camera. Others manufactures play the same spec game that PCs manufacturers played for years: our phone has 13 megapixels, count 'em! While Apple kept the "meh" 8 megapixels. But the sensor is bigger and has two different color flash LEDs. The result is much better-looking color-balanced photos with reasonable file sizes. With a 13 megapixel physically small sensor, there is more cross-talk between pixels, resulting in artifacts that result in a mediocre photo in a large file. Apple's "useless" 64 bit processor allows fast focus and other technologies usually associated with expensive single-purpose cameras. It also boasts an f2.2 lens, meaning better photos in low light.

    If you read most of the tech press, you would think they only added a gold color.

    I'm taking this opportunity to buy more Apple.

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 6:19 PM, tfmeehan wrote:

    Tell you what, depending on your definition of "fail" for the 5c, I will bet you $100 it won't be.

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 6:35 PM, cmalek wrote:

    I see all the Fruitco fanbois are out in force. You guys are worse than the Moonie Mafia. What an irony! You are defending a company that does not give a rat's rear end about you as users/customers. You are there only to provide Fruitco with income.

    Watch out, Alyce. The way these people sound, they just may physically come after you for apostasy.

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 10:13 PM, rabbdv wrote:

    "The biggest shocker -- and logic disconnect -- is that the supposedly "cheaper"..."

    Apple has never, ever said they intended to make a cheaper iPhone. That was the fancy of the so-called pundits. Apple has never been about cheap. They are interested in a high end product and protecting their profit margins. Now they will have two price points and still protect their profit margins. Good for them; good for the shareholders.

    The fingerprint sensor will be huge but you consider that a "meh" innovation?

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 10:58 PM, newbear100 wrote:

    The load of passion and prejudice is staggering, while the innocents only whimper : Pray tell, why, oh why.

    I happened to be old enough to remember hot steam (engine) helping this climate change along - everybody was on board, regardless of their academic level.

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 11:26 PM, dsciola wrote:

    Bravo Alyce. AAPL's brand, though it is strong, does seem to be slowly eroding...and potentially becoming the next Softie.

    Let me ask you this, and this is more inquiry than challenge or being devil's advocate, did MSFT have such high expectations when it was on top of/falling from the top of the tech world?

    Seems Apple can only regain prominence if they introduce another blockbuster innovative product. A tall tale for any company. Was this the same with MSFT? Did they have that sort of expectations as well during their hey-day?

    Dom

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2013, at 1:29 AM, jlclayton wrote:

    If you are an Apple investor and it irritates you so incredibly that a MF writer wrote an article about the pros and cons of the company's recent announcement, you really need to look at this stock a little closer. It's better to look at dissenting opinions when evaluating a company's stock because it helps to keep you from having a bias toward only reading articles that agree with you.

    Many commentors seem to be really scared of any opinion that Apple may not be the high flyer that it once was. Could you be overweight in Apple stock or did you buy in at the highs and need to regain losses? It's an excellent company, but so was Microsoft and many others over the years, and then they had challenges or missteps.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2013, at 4:44 AM, CraigWPowell wrote:

    APPL chart tells all Apple 2013 story:

    iknowfirst/Apple-stock-forecast-12-months-predictions

    Good time to sell AAPL was last September ( see the sell signal on the chart)

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2013, at 8:20 AM, mikecart1 wrote:

    People hating Apple now will suddenly claim how great it is 1-3 years from now. I wish I could locate all the Apple haters back when it was under $100 just a few years ago. I remember when I had a Macintosh LCII, I got made fun of for having an overpriced computer. Now who is on top?

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2013, at 9:46 AM, ziq wrote:

    A lot of hypotheses in the article and the comments, some plausible some not so. About the least plausible is that a moderately negative article in MF could cause the tiniest tick in the stock price.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2013, at 12:18 PM, tfmeehan wrote:

    Apparently the Apple haters are blind to the fact that they are no more reasonable than the "Apple Can do no wrong" group.

    Lumping everyone who disagreed with this analysis into the fanbois or fanatic camp says more about you than them.

    The PC crowd of the 80's & 90's and the Android fans of today are no less "fanatic" than the Apple supporters, they just seem less sure of their choices.

    I don't own an iPhone but as a long time Mac user (and early defender) the battles and arguments I participated in were ALWAYS started by the PC users, and when they ran out of arguments they resorted to the "cult" and "religion" and "fanatic" taunts.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 10:28 AM, OceanJackson wrote:

    Apple's not working on an iWatch or T.V. - they're revolutionizing mobile payment.

    Fingerprint Confirmations

    iBeacons

    Passbook

    ...Enable a true mobile wallet, that connects you with the merchandise around you.

    In the not too distant future you will not have to stand in line at the store. Having to stand in line at the store is barbaric.

    This will sell Apple iPhones at an increasing level.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 10:30 AM, lidiworks wrote:

    Excellent point, jlclayton.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 11:12 AM, secretcog wrote:

    I like Apple and I respect their products, but the future isn't in mobile phones or tablets. The current interest is in smart homes and smart cars.

    The "future"...is in the exploration, militarization and colonization of space and the establishment of a true United Nations. What does this have to do with Apple? Everything.

    Apple, Microsoft, Google/Android all have to face a new form of technological growth or the products they're flashing us now...will be the 8 track cassette players in the future...the near future...the ten to twenty year near future.

    Military, law enforcement, search & rescue as well as astronauts are going to require H.U.D.'s (Heads Up Display) built into their helmets. That's an operating system that requires some SERIOUS voice recognition and command. Google Glass is close, but lacking.

    As anything with governmental tech...it will leap outward into every corner of society: industrial helmets, motorcycle helmets and just about everything else.

    Apple makes GREAT household computers, but what about space ship operating systems? No...don't laugh. This is where our species is heading. Who is going to build the O.S. for space?

    My guess (though a lil'prejudice as a Halo fan) is Microsoft. Apple is fine...like Nintendo...with their family friendly wholesomeness, but that can only get you so far and I think everyone needs to start preplanning.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 1:03 PM, cooter1127 wrote:

    I am kicking my self for not purchasing more shares on the price decline following the announcement. with AAPL current financials I would rather own them with no prospects of growth than most of the tech companies out their. I feel AAPL is worth at least $500 based on its balance sheet, strong margins and the ability to increase owners value (last I checked they were generating owner's earning of somewhere around 20% a year on their assets) all of which are leaps and bounds ahead of their peers. Regardless of fears of slowing growth or loss of market share I don't think AAPL is going anywhere.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2013, at 7:07 PM, Wooker1 wrote:

    Hey, Lomax, I guess you really are a motley fool for this moronic article!

  • Report this Comment On September 26, 2013, at 12:55 AM, skippywonder wrote:

    And by now of course we have seen how "meh" the iPhone 5s and 5c launch was.

    Apple is not under any immediate threat of becoming the irrelevant and stale company that Microsoft is.

    "All is not lost" the author writes. Gee, ya think?

  • Report this Comment On September 30, 2013, at 7:58 PM, wildeweasel wrote:

    What the Apple fans don't realize is that there is no great conspiracy against Apple here, only one of many seasoned investor's opinion about a company. While Apple has been a great investment in the past, that may not hold true in the future. The valuation drop we have seen may only be the beginning or it could hold at the level it is with mediocre growth. It may also take off again with new product releases or future sales results. To some myself included this makes Apple a less robust investment choice for our money, though many potential investors would still buy and use the products.

    Investing is about maximizing returns on the money you invest, not propping up the share price of an under-performing stock by refusing to sell because you are loyal to the brand. I for one value opinions like ms. Lomax's that call into question the generally accepted wisdom of the masses. The price that you enter and exit a stock at is, in the end, determined by you. If you are one of the many that think ms. Lomax should not be writing articles because of this one, then you should probably not be investing. I would like to take a look at your past investing performance.

    "Ridicule and name calling are the weapons of the weak, used when they don't have ideas to back up their beliefs."

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2013, at 11:53 AM, ChrisBarbara48 wrote:

    TAKE THIS TO THE BANK! READ AGAIN..YOU CAN TAKE THIS (OR SHOULD I SAY SELL!!!).

    I have not read one comment post the article being written. I do not need too. I JUST created this "Fool" ID today..minutes ago.Reason Being?

    I have been a HUGE Apple fan for 10 years. I have two MAC PRO's ( over $10,000) 3 Macbook Pro Laptops. Between my two sons and I, over the years..10 plus ipods, a zillion earbud, 4 iphones, close to $2000 in iTunes purchases..and a I couldn't begin to put a price tag on the software I have purchased or upgraded. MARK MY WORDS......

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2013, at 11:58 AM, ChrisBarbara48 wrote:

    APPLE stock WILL CRASH...it is not a matter of time..but a matter of when.

    Logic? I was a 14 senior professional band employee at General Electric. We had a one of a kind CEO..Remember Jack? When Jack left, just working for GE declined rapidly. Ever hear their name on any of the employee retained or loyalty lists anymore? NOPE. They declined..the stock took a huge nose dive. OK..you will say that ALL STOCK took a dive. But my reply is...for 13 years..even though GE makes money hand over fist..their stock has been stagnant. A Flatliner for YEARS. Year after year.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2013, at 12:15 PM, ChrisBarbara48 wrote:

    Steve Jobs was not one of a kind..Steve Jobs was

    "THE CEO". He was the first true GREAT ONE. A pioneer..a maverick. There will never be another in my opinion. By some miracle, if there IS another..someone of Jack or Steve's character (both very different men, different leadership styles, both extremely successful and both RCOK STARS) what are the changes of she/he leading Apple? NIL.

    Steve Jobs is gone. Sadly, he is gone forever. I have called or attempted to receive apple support three times within a 23 day period. When Steve was CEO, I called once in 11 years and it was a great experience. My three calls this month were a nightmare. No resolution on 3 different questions/issues. My first call..I was transferred 5x then got dropped. Fortunately, before the 5th transfer I had taken down the department's name and was give a telephone number and Case Number. When I did call, they referred me back to square one. Useless.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2013, at 1:18 PM, ChrisBarbara48 wrote:

    Getting straight to the point:

    Just like General Electric Culture, Candor, Values, Work Ethic, Treatment of vendors & consultants (I much rather call them friends, partners, colleagues)

    as declined post the departure of Jack Welch.

    So will the fall of Apple following the loss of the most revered Steve Jobs.

    Dump your stock now before it is too late.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2013, at 5:06 PM, ChrisBarbara48 wrote:

    I would like to make one last comment in an attempt to save “HATERS” from embarrassing themselves.

    I am not referring to the people who are very experienced managing outsourced vendor who support Microsoft or Apple hardware, software, support, etc, I would expect their comments or opinions would be based on a history of data and not a “on-off” experience. A person with long term experience whether it be a product, service, or otherwise, is certainly entitled to their opinion. Although we may ultimately agree to disagree in the end…you will have my respect.

    I am referring to customer satisfaction opinions based on one call or one experience. The majority of my IT career includes leading/managing IT vendors who provide IT support or development services My comments are based on LONG term experience, relationships, friendships with hundreds of call center analysts, developers, technicians, managers, leadership, etc. Due to the fact the I have extensive experience in this are I ask you PLEASE:

    THINK TWICE before posting a comment blaming unsatisfactory call center support due to outsourcing the helpdesk or Service Desk to India, Mexico, near shore, off shore providers.

    In 1998, a colleague and myself built a wing to wing help desk/ desktop support model for GE Capital Corporate. At the time of our service launch, we had 6 on-site analysts supporting a 7:00am – 7:00pm operation. A little over a year later, I was responsible for transitioning and managing the very first of GE’s help desk operations to an India based provider now know in the industry as GENPACT.

    When the transition was completed (including a 3 month stabilization period), our support metrics moved to above average (when support was onsite) to a “Best in Class” client service model. The eventual slow but steady decline of customer satisfaction was attributed to constant consolidation/integration of several other GE businesses into or scalable support model, without the required additional budget/resources necessary to maintain “best in class” support.

    In fact, all IT departments were tasked with reducing our “vendor/contractor” budget by 10% annually. As GE acquired/integrated additional business, our customer base rapidly increased while resources/budget decreased.

    Lack of quality leadership expedited the decline. Leaders with absolutely NO client services experience were hired. Experienced “former helpdesk leaders” lost management roles and responsibilities during the IT consolidation/centralization became frustrated and moved on to other roles. Our experience overseas partners were overworked, underpaid, treated horribly so they too moved to other accounts or left the company completely.

    The company, culture, values, traditions, principles instilled in veteran GE Employees had vanished.

    When I left the company on March 6, 2013, the GE I had known and loved was unrecognizable

  • Report this Comment On October 05, 2013, at 4:15 AM, CoreAndExplore wrote:

    That's interesting ChrisBarbara, but there was an article in the WSJ just today about how IT people no longer hold the sway relating to product choice they once did. Supposedly, there is an expanding democratization in the corporate world for users/employees, and the influence of IT pros is eroding, while the companies that continue to focus on them suffer.

  • Report this Comment On October 06, 2013, at 3:40 PM, Mentallyhayzed wrote:

    Microsift and Apple had two unique, original, innovative minds, gifted with the ideas to start these companies. The innovation seemingly died with the founders, and the companies knew it. The corporate world did not dare plan the replacement of the two company founders, but people die. That issue is now why both companies are becoming "ho-hum". An innovator should have been replaced by exactly that, another innovator of ideas. Not, who can we find to executively pilot the company and maintain the profit? It requires a pilot of innovation to new product that will return profits.

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