NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The recent rise in Apple's (AAPL) stock price could end up burning longs who do not take profits. While I certainly could be reading it wrong, the writing is most definitely on the wall.
Before you tell me I hate Apple, please note that I wrote this article on the new MacBook with a Retina display I received Monday. With the exception of the Internal Revenue Service, you typically do not give such a large sum of money to an organization you dislike.
I love Apple. Because of this admiration it pains me to see the company veer from the course Steve Jobs set for it. It hurts even more to watch so many people -- shareholders, the media, analysts, fanboys and fangirls -- refuse to connect the now-painfully obvious dots.
A Sampling of the Writing on the Wall
Shortly after Tim Cook took over for Jobs, he caved to shareholder pressure and decided to institute a dividend and buyback. In the rearview mirror of history, that will go down as the symbolic beginning of the end.Now, as Apple begins paying that dividend, several things are taking place that could spell trouble. The dividend and buyback foreshadowed what we're seeing more and more of each day. The gap between Apple and everybody else appears to be closing. Micro and macro factors that once impacted everybody except Apple now cause Apple to make adjustments we never would have seen in the Steve Jobs era. The most obvious example that the world continues to ignore is the forthcoming mini iPad. Bulls spin it as Apple taking control of yet another market. While that may very well happen, it's a short-term grab of market share that sets off flares of long-term concern. When Apple no longer operates in a class of its own, it begins to cede control and chip away at its own greatness. As I have argued for months, it's on the road to becoming just another very good company. The latest missteps from Tim Cook do nothing but accelerate the trend and send signals that Apple is concerned about the current quarter.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV