What happened

Shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) fell on Friday, furthering the technology titan's recent swoon. As of 10:35 a.m. EDT today, Apple's stock was down more than 6%.

So what 

After seeing its market cap soar to a staggering $2.3 trillion following its blockbuster third-quarter results and subsequent stock split, Apple has now shed roughly $350 billion in total market value. That's a stunning figure -- one that's larger than the market caps of approximately 98% of the other companies in the S&P 500. 

A downwardly sloping stock chart.

Apple's stock has plummeted in recent days. Image source: Getty Images.

What's even more startling for investors is that there hasn't been a clear reason for the decline. Yet Apple, like many other stocks, has fallen sharply over the past few days as the market has pulled back violently from its recent highs.

Now what

Volatility is the price investors must pay if they wish to build long-term wealth in the stock market. In the short term, stocks can rise and fall for reasons that are difficult to decipher. But over the long term -- a period that should be measured in years rather than weeks or months -- a stock's worth is ultimately determined by the fundamental value of its underlying business.

In this regard, Apple's future remains bright. A 5G-fueled iPhone upgrade appears set to drive the company's device and services sales (and, by extension, its earnings and cash flow) sharply higher in the coming years. So as its price falls along with much of the rest of the stock market, long-term investors may wish to use this opportunity to buy Apple's stock at a discount.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.