A view of the main entrance to Apple Inc. in Cupertino, California. The company's stock has been crushed over the past few months. How low can it go?
Last year, Apple's share price rose above $700. Some analysts started getting all crazy with their predictions for where it might go. Could Apple hit $1000 and become the world's first $1 trillion company?
For a while these calls didn't look so crazy. As a company, Apple was a beast. It could do no wrong. The declines were inevitable, but temporary. The stock would always recover and resume its inexorable match to quadruple digits.
Apple dipped below the psychologically important $500 per share barrier this week (it's since recovered a bit as investors waiting for it to dip below the psychologically important $500 per share barrier piled in). There are some serious and well-respected investors who are bearish on this stock. Jeff Gundlach, of L.A.'s DoubleLine Capital, is one of them. He's set a target price for Apple of $425.
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An Apple Store customer looks at the new Apple iPhone 4S. It will be old news by tomorrow, replaced by the iPhone 5.
Okay, I'm obviously taking a highly contrarian position here. But in the context of iPhone 5 mania, it's a worthwhile undertaking — especially given that an analyst at JPMorgan thinks that iPhone 5 sales could add a half a point — Half a point! — to U.S. GDP growth this year. The iPhone 5, which Apple is debuting tomorrow, could literally save the economy, which actually isn't all that surprising an outcome if you believe, as I sometimes do, that the U.S. economy these days consists of Apple, the auto industry, and little else.
The iPhone 5 isn't that different from the iPhone 4S. True, it's expected to incorporate features that newer Android phones already have. With 4G LTE service and a larger screen, the iPhone 5 should be faster than its predecessor and provide lusher viewing of photos, videos, games, and so on. The battery is also reported to be beefier. But so what? Is the iPhone 5 going to rock anybody's world? It's likely to be a commendable refinement/improvement on the former model. But world-rocking in the smartphone world seems to belong to the Android Nation.
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Customers test new the IPad at an Apple store. Apple beat quarterly earnings expectations today by a very decent margin.
If you've been hiding in your bomb shelter, you probably missed Apple's precipitous stock-price drop last week and this, bottoming at $560 per share today and giving up, like, $100 billion in market cap. But then the magic of shattered earnings expectations hit and hit HARD. The company made $11.6 billion in its second fiscal quarter and earned $12.30 per share. That killed the expectation of $10.06 per share, according to Business Insider.
More importantly, the "weakness" in iPhone sales didn't materialize — Apple sold 35.1 million, nearly five million more than expected. This was one of the possible negatives driving Apple share price down, as analysts speculated on what remains the core of Apple's business.
There is a hint of bad news amid all this boffo good news, which has pushed Apple right back up to $600 per share in after-hours trading (a whopping 7.35-percent increase). The theoretically revolutionary iPad sold "only" 11.8 million units, below the 13 million that were anticipated.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple product launch event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 7, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Today, the company announced its first dividend since...1995!
Apple announced this morning that, in response to various levels of pressure, it will be dispersing some of its $100-billion cash hoard by paying a $2.65 quarterly dividend to shareholders, starting in 2013, and buying back $10 billion worth of stock. These were both fairly conservative, but far from unexpected, moves. As soon as Apple announced that it would be...making an announcement, some kind of dividend scenario was in the picture. The questions were along the lines of "How big?" and "Will it be a one-time dividend?"
Apple's stock, not surprisingly, is waaaayyy up in trading this morning, currently humming along just a hair below $600. Actually, it's been headed almost straight up since last December. And it could have been set up by Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer to move higher, but they went for a relatively small dividend: 1.8 percent versus what Apple's biggest Wall Street bulls wanted, something like 2.5 percent.
Earlier this week, I took a tour of the Staples Center to check out a substantial technology upgrade throughout the facility (it's called StadiumVision). AEG joined with Cisco and Verizon to improve the way that programming and information can be displayed on HD video screens around the stadium. This ranged from theming and special offers on menu displays at concessions to e-commerce possibilities in the luxury suites.
It was all very interesting and a pretty fair example of high-level business collaboration. AEG, Cisco, and Verizon are hardly small players.
But it was also a glimpse of things to come. I can certainly remember the good old days of sports venues, when advertising, branding, and marketing was far more limited. Now, LA and AEG could very well be on the verge of building a state of the art football stadium Downtown, called Farmers Field. Ambitions for technology to "enhance the fan experience" are running high. The screens could be more numerous and much larger. And there could be a lot more mobile interaction, right down to the level of watching the game via a dynamic live feed to an iPhone app. From what I heard, that's the Holy Grail — you're at the game, but you can hold the game in your hands.