Frustrated Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors could catch a break next week. The consumer tech giant's annual showcase for developers is coming, and the market just doesn't care.
Apple stock has shed 20% of its value since last year's WWDC, and the carnage is closer to 36% since peaking the day the iPhone 5 hit the market. The shares may be trading 17% higher since bottoming out two months ago, but we're still eyeing a year-to-date slide of 15%.
In short, Apple stock has been a dud. There's no hype heading into Apple's weeklong event, and that's where bulls have the advantage.
No one expects new iPhones (either cheaper or larger versions) until later this year. The same thing can be said about the iTV chatter, and who knows if that will ever materialize?
You know things are bad for Apple when the buzz is largely revolving around new Macs and a streaming music service that seems doomed from the start.
It's OK to diss iRadio before it's even been born. A lot of us knocked Ping when it was in the cradle, and AppIe's social music experiment flopped before being mercifully shuttered two years later. Even iTunes Match -- Apple's premium digital song locker -- has failed to gain traction. Besides, reports claim that Sony has yet to sign up, and the lone major label holdout could be enough to sink the platform if it wants to compete against seasoned players with complete libraries. If Sony doesn't sign off on iRadio, there is little reason for Apple to force the issue by rolling it out before it's ready.
There's also little that Apple can show off in new Macs or even an iOS update that will wow the skeptics. For the first time in ages, analysts see earnings and profit margins falling considerably. Apple will have to do more than polish up old categories and upgrade its mobile platform to win back positive growth projections.
The good news here is that Apple is trading for just 11 times this year's projected earnings and it falls well into the single digits if you back out the bellwether's cash position to base the valuation on enterprise value.
The only thing that's been discounted next week is the ho-hum. Anything that Apple says or introduces that comes off as new or potentially game-changing would naturally breathe new life into the dormant Apple stock.
It can happen. Apple knows that its back is against the wall. It's seeing Android own the smartphone space and gain ground in tablets. It's seeing Microsoft introduce the Xbox One later this year as a video game console that will do a lot of what folks were hoping an Apple smart television would do.
Apple can't let Microsoft be the cool one. Right?
Apple knows that the heat is on, and even if all we get is a doomed music service and an improved iOS, that may be just enough to remind the market that Apple isn't a stock worth forgetting.