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Earnings and iPad Mini, but This Week Means Nothing for Apple

Stocks in this article: AAPLMSFTINTCDELLHPQ

We do not know why AAPL does this.

The most psychologically comfortable thing for AAPL bulls to do then is chalk the gyrations up to noise, illogic and, for the crazed, conspiracy. When the stock goes down and up and back down, bulls brand anybody who is not ardently bullish on the basis of AAPL's earnings multiple a lamebrain. They believe past performance does indeed predict future results.

What we do know is that Apple's future is not only unwritten, it's uncertain. I used to think it was less uncertain than, say, Microsoft's (MSFT), but now I'm not quite so sure.

It's quite clearcut for Microsoft under Steve Ballmer. They're born to lose, destined to fail. And the company could take down a whole host of "partners" in the process, ranging from Intel (INTC) to Dell (DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ).

It's pretty sane and logical to predict that Windows 8 and all that it entails will not experience rousing Apple-like success. While it probably will not be an abject failure, it will be closer to the abject failure end of the spectrum than the rousing success side.

That's trademark of the ho-hum existence of so many big and once wildly successful tech companies these days. Don't expect too much from them. They won't let you down (even as ... they let you down).

It doesn't work that way with Apple. We expect big things. And, relatively speaking, we're not getting them. I love my iPhone 5 as much as the next guy, but it's not a big thing.

This week means nothing. But don't take that out of context.

It means something in so far as everybody will be covering and talking about what Apple announces. Dollars will change hands like they always do. Fortunes might even be won or lost in some cases.

That said, all that really matters are the first six months of 2013.

In January we'll know how Apple, particularly iPhone 5 and the presumably forthcoming iPad Mini and other assorted products, did during the current holiday quarter. If results come in lackluster, Apple has troubles no matter what its backward, forward or current price-to-earnings ratio works out to.

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