‘Time’ To Abandon Apple Inc.?


When you’re the brightest, shiniest company in the world, the burden of expectation can be both a blessing and a curse. Just ask Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL.US).

Tuesday’s combined launch of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the long-awaited Apple Watch had the internet buzzing, generating a level of publicity that no other product can buy.

The danger is that the bigger the hype, the harder the potential letdown. And judging by the subsequent share price dip, investors were underwhelmed.

All that sound and fury signified nothing. Apple has just launched its first new product  since unleashing the increasingly ubiquitous iPad in four years, and its share price fell slightly.

Have we reached ‘peak’ Apple?

Flick Of The Wrist

I’ve always been absolutely, completely, totally sceptical about the prospect of an iWatch, or Apple Watch, but I have to admit, I did feel a brief flutter of iWant.

Even as a late adopter, I want that watch. I would imagine that plenty of early adopters will really want that watch. I already know which of my friends will be flashing it on their wrist, like a kid with a new toy in the playground. And everybody will want to touch and stroke it, including me, and I’m all grown up.

So in that respect, Apple still has it.

You Wear It Well

Cynics may say Apple Watch can do little that the iPhone can’t already do. Then again, many people said the same thing about the iPad in relation to the MacBook, but people have found a use for that.

And it does do some useful things. “It’s a comprehensive health and fitness device,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook tells us. It is also accurate to 50 milliseconds, can act as a remote control for your home, and allows you to send a friendly little buzz to your friends by pressing on their face, to let them know you’re thinking of them.

That’s sweet, although they will need £220 to buy their own Apple Watch.

And we don’t even know whether a ‘wearables’ market actually exists.

Double Trouble

A big downside is that you need an iPhone as well. But if you have an iPhone, do you need a watch? This dependency makes anybody wearing an Apple Watch manna for muggers. It also needs to be charged every night. Shame.

Also, it won’t be launched until next year, which is bad news for investors, as there won’t be any pre-Christmas sales bonanza to take advantage of all this hype.

Revolutionary Road

Apple has been a truly revolutionary company, but from here, progress can surely only be incremental. 

Yay, now we have an iPhone 6, and my daughter’s friends are excited about it, but disillusioned fanboys claim the bigger screen is simply playing catch-up with Samsung and HTC.

Apple called it the “biggest advancement in the history” of the iPhone, although I can’t remember why.

Another worry is that Apple has now made its big announcement. We might have to wait a lot more than four years for the next one.

Even if sales figures for the Apple Watch and iPhones thrash expectations, markets will be demanding yet more world-changing product launches, and I can’t see what’s left.

Lost In The iCloud

Forget the shiny stuff for a moment. The big investor excitement surrounded Apple Pay, which ultimately aims to replace your wallet and credit cards with contactless technology.

But again, a digital wallet isn’t exactly a entirely new idea. And given recent iCloud security breaches, there have been lots of snarky comments about allowing Apple to manage your financial data.

I doubt Jennifer Lawrence will be using it.

Not on my watch

If anybody can make wearable technology work, Apple can. 

The prospect of billion more in share buy backs and a 1.7% yield may tempt some investors, but not me. This is a company whose earnings per share growth has fallen from 82% in 2011, to a forecast 11% in the year to September 2015.

I won’t be restoring Apple to my watchlist.

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Harvey Jones has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of Apple. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.