I’m going out on a limb with this prognostication, and disagree with my friend Kate MacKenzie.
Apple is entering a new golden age of prosperity which may last for many years. That’s good for Mac users, iPod users, everyone.
Kate’s basic premise is not to be argued with. She insists, and I agree, that Apple will hit a wall in a few years, the stock price will stumble, revenue and profit growth will slow dramatically.
In the meantime, The New Golden Age of Apple™ is upon us, and is likely to last longer than many nay sayers may think, not as long as Apple Fan Boys and Girls may want.
I read a report today from Daedalus Capital which said Apple’s stock price “is going to $600.” A couple of years ago I would have laughed. I laughed when Google’s stock topped $300 a share. Look at it now. I don’t laugh at such things anymore. Those are the same folks who said AAPL would hit $200 per share in 2007. Close enough, and the year is yet young.
Why? What happened to take Apple from beleaguered to darling? Steve Jobs? OS X? iPod? Intel chips? iLife ‘08? iPhone? Microsoft’s Windows Woes™? Yes. All the above and more have combined, converged to deliver a unique setting in the universe—Apple’s Golden Age.
Of course, Golden Ages don’t last forever, so expect the bubble to burst on this one down the road a few years.
When? Who knows and who cares? Barring an unexpected death of Steve Jobs and a California earthquake or wildfire that swallows Cupertino whole, t won’t be soon.
Arguably, the Mac provides the best personal computing experience available these days and more and more former Windows users will attest to the truth of that statement. Mac OS X becomes officially mature with the release of Leopard, so the future will only be better for Mac users.
The Mac represents an important component of Apple’s past, present, and future, but there’s more. The iPod helped resurrect the company’s fortunes, and the iPhone will carry that banner of chic for many years into the future. Seriously, the iPhone is nothing more than a Mac Experience in a handheld device, and an evolutionary revolution spawned by the ubiquitous iPod.
Remember, there’s a lot of market share ahead for the Mac, and a lot of the rest of the world to conquer for the iPod, and the iPhone is just getting started. Apple is executing so well on so many marketing fronts that competition doesn’t have time to catch a collective breath, let alone gain some tiny advantage. Even Microsoft’s billions of dollars have done nothing to slow down Apple’s gravy train.
All of this is good news for everyone. Competition is good. Customers love what they get from Apple. The company is prospering as never before. Steve Jobs is living his own Shawshank Redemption.
To be fair, there are some bumps ahead. Apple has not and may not have the same success with the movie industry as it did with the music industry, and there are some cracks in the latter already.
The former has yet to become Apple’s playground because the movie industry does not want to deal with what the music industry helped to create—the proverbial 800-pound gorilla, in the form of the iTunes Store and iPod hegemony. Apple will do well, but not dominate as they did with music.
Another bump will be in the form of backlash. Just as a large number of the populace hates dealing with anything Microsoft, we’ll see, and are seeing, the same thing happen with Apple. Backlash isn’t pleasant for a company, but it’s better than beleaguered, right?
Because the Mac has so much headroom for market share growth, because the iPod has the rest of the world to conquer, and because the iPhone could be bigger than the other two put together, Apple has a long, straight, fast track ahead. It’s possible the stock could hit that aforementioned $600 figure. It seems crazy, but crazier things have happened.
Look at the recent headlines concerning Apple. Top computer reliability. Again. OS X Leopard polished, secure, fun, excellent. iPhone has highest customer satisfaction rating of any new product. Record sales, record profits, record cash on hand, record numbers of customers. While I do not expect The New Golden Age of Apple™ to last forever, such ages never do, I see a number of very good years in Apple’s future.
Enjoy the ride.