Apple: All of a Sudden, Steve Jobs Matters?
I questioned Apple's (AAPL) ability to innovate without him.
I second-guessed many of the moves Tim Cook made upon taking over for Jobs. Everything from issuing a dividend to apologizing for MappleGate to not having a clue about how to advance Apple's living room ambitions .
I worried about future innovation. Would there be any?
This ongoing theme prompted what felt like an across-the-board trashing.
Hedge fund managers ripped me. Fellow financial writers labeled me a rudimentary, blathering twit. Commenters and emailers were relentless. One guy -- no joke -- sent a note telling me that if I came down with cancer it would be well-deserved.
All of this skepticism and venom as the stock shot up to $705.
Now, you can't type AAPL into the box at the top of TheStreet.com or at Yahoo! Finance without returning an endless string of stories asking the same questions and floating the same claims I have asked and floated since Steve Jobs prematurely left Earth.
If it wasn't all so pathetically irrational, I would feel vindicated, flattered and refreshed.
But, as I explained yesterday in Apple Sell-Off About A Year Too Soon , I cannot take credit for the early overreaction of a gaggle of class A analyst and media hacks.
That would be disingenuous.
My long-term bear case most always carried a qualifier: It doesn't kick in until sometime in 2013 or shortly thereafter. I still believe that. As such, I can't ignore how I feel just because much of the rest of the world decided to come late to the party with a co-opted and horribly misunderstood version of my bear case.
That said, I point to some things I said several times in the bearish AAPL articles I wrote. Here's how I phrased it on Aug. 24, 2012 :
Near-term: Apple must absolutely knock the snot out of the baseball when it reports its October-November-December results in January 2013. Before that, we should prepare for a relatively underwhelming quarter between last month's miss and the much-anticipated holiday report.
And, more importantly:
Emotion has a fascinating way of working itself into stock investing. You're long AAPL. It's kicking rear and taking names. For perfectly understandable reasons, you're passionate about the position. The best mistake you can make is to detach yourself from the hysteria and take some profits.
Because, if my long-term bearish outlook pans out and the stock follows, more than a few longs will dig their respective heels in. They will check their cost bases and claim they'll sell if AAPL falls (insert arbitrary percentage here).
However, as it falls, those profits you thought you were about to bank erode. You hold out for a rebound to recover a few bucks. The stock drops more. Before you know it, your profit pales in comparison to what it once was, you're sitting at breakeven or, worse, you're holding an on-paper loss.