Call it a correction, a fall, a bubble popped. Whatever your preferred terminology, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares are trading at incredibly lofty valuation ratios, and the stock is long overdue for a haircut.

Four pictures say 4,000 words

I agree that Apple is an impressive company. Cupertino collected $275 billion of revenues over the last four quarters, generating $57 billion of bottom-line net income and $73 billion in free cash flows. These are huge numbers that suit a company with a market cap of $2.2 trillion.

However, Apple arguably reached a plateau in its business growth many years ago. Let me show you what I mean.

Apple's revenues have grown by a total of 21% over the last five years. Earnings rose 45% over the same period. Apple's share prices were completely disconnected from these modest gains, posting a 446% return in the same five-year period.

AAPL Chart

AAPL data by YCharts

Let's compare Apple's slow growth to the more impressive sales and earnings increases seen in the other three tech stocks with trillion-dollar valuations. The purple line in the next chart really shouldn't inspire investors to give Apple a richer valuation than Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) or Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) stands out as the fastest-growing name in this group.

AAPL Revenue (TTM) Chart

AAPL Revenue (TTM = trailing 12 month) data by YCharts.

The differences are even clearer if we convert the dollar-based chart above to the percentage growth seen below.

AAPL Revenue (TTM) Chart

AAPL Revenue (TTM = trailing 12 month) data by YCharts

And don't forget about the bottom line. Next, you'll see how Amazon's earnings took off like a rocket when the Amazon Web Services cloud-computing service started to pull its weight. Alphabet's earnings nearly doubled in five years, and Microsoft's earnings more than tripled. These figures look forgettable in the shadow of Amazon's hyper-growth, but still left Apple far behind.

AAPL Normalized Diluted EPS (TTM) Chart

AAPL Normalized Diluted EPS (TTM = trailing 12 month) data by YCharts

Close-up photo of a hairdresser cutting a customer's hair.

Image source: Getty Images.

It's time for a haircut

Apple's stock rose 66% over the last year, 196% in three years, and 446% over the last half-decade. During these massive gains, the actual business was simply holding its ground. As a result, Apple shares are trading at nosebleed-inducing valuation ratios such as 37 times free cash flows, 39 times trailing earnings, and 8 times sales. Once upon a time, Apple was a value investment. These days, it's just a value trap.

I don't know what it will take to trigger a correction of these inflated share prices, but I can feel one coming. And I mean a big one -- at least a 30% haircut, and maybe more. Only then would Apple's stock price make any sense.

Apple's stock is not a buy today. If you already own it, you should probably take some of those exaggerated returns off the table and reinvest the loot in a less overvalued stock. All three of Apple's neighbors in the trillion-dollar club strike me as better ideas, because they can still support their massive market caps with impressive helpings of business growth.

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.