Friday, October 08, 2010

Still the Apple of My Eye

By Eric Jackson
RealMoney Contributor

10/8/2010 1:00 PM EDT
Click here for more stories by Eric Jackson

Apple (AAPL - commentary - Trade Now) is having another fantastic year. So far, the stock is up 37.25% for the year -- more than 7 times the return of the Nasdaq over that period. Go into any Apple Store across the U.S., and it's like no other retail experience you've seen ... ever. The stores are packed, people are excited, and the staff is knowledgeable. In China, fights have broken out within the stores because people are so eager to snap up the products.

Yet, when you have a company achieving so much operational and stock success, you will have detractors -- or at least worrywarts wringing their hands in the pages of the press.

In many ways, Apple already is a victim of its own success. In my view, what this company has put together in terms of performance and new product introductions over the last five years is nothing short of amazing.

The iPad, the iPhone 4, the Nano, Apple TV -- these are new products within the last year that are all on track to be massive winners for the company.

We sometimes forget how impressive this ability is for Apple to continue to innovate with new products that consumers (and, increasingly, business users) crave. Research In Motion (RIMM - commentary - Trade Now) has not had a successful new product launch since the original BlackBerry 15 years ago - the company has simply made incremental changes to the existing product.

And we still want to complain about the bumpers on the iPhone 4? Let's keep a little perspective here.

What's amazing to me, though, is how the market continues to underestimate Apple's ability to keep increasing its business and, consequently, its stock price.

We've seen this hesitancy around groundbreaking product launches. In the cases of both the iPhone and the iPad, we saw great fascination and hope driving up the stock's price in the weeks leading up to the product announcement. Yet, almost immediately after the product was unveiled, the stock sold off. What's more, in the months after the launch -- and preceding the actual date the products started selling in the stores -- the stock price flagged.

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