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Herb Greenberg: What to Watch With Apple

By: Herb Greenberg | 09/23/13 - 12:29 PM EDT

Stocks in this article: AAPLNFLXP

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- There is no way getting around it: This was a big weekend for Apple. The new iOS 7 operating system combined with the launch of its newest phones was a serious one-two punch to anybody who thought Apple (AAPL)was dead or dying.

Make no mistake about it however: Apple is a mature company, whose maturity arrived in a compressed period of time. Its rapid success is the reason its stock, even for a cult fave like Apple, has tumbled: What goes up too fast will fall back even faster, when the sales and/or earnings momentum subsides.

The new phones and operating system are part of a continuous refresh cycle -- and the new operating system is good, real good. (Disclosure: I have an iPhone and iPad and was the first on my block to download the new system.)

But even with record sales this weekend, and questions about whether iTunes will give Pandora (P) a run for its money, here's what I want to know:

How much of this big weekend is pent-up demand -- coming from owners of the 4-series who did not upgrade and yet have upgrade discounts waiting at their wireless providers?

How does that compare with prior cycles?

How much of this is maintaining share rather than gaining share?

Put another way, how much of this weekend's sales will be new share?

Even with Apple raising guidance, how much of this is front-loading the quarter -- helped by sales deferred from prior quarters?

What discussion about Apple will we be having in six months?

Will we go back to asking: What can Apple do for an encore?

Reality: Even with the stock up this morning after its big weekend, Apple is just back to where it was a few weeks ago.

Will it bounce higher, lockstep with other given-up-for-dead momo names, like Netflix (NFLX)? Is this Apple's last hurrah or the beginning of a new phase?

Honestly -- I have no idea (and I don't think anyone else really does either, though there's no shortage of opinions.) What I do know is this: For today, at least, and until the next round of Samsung devices -- the iPhone has regained its superstar status, and rightfully so. It's a great product. But, this reminder: On fickle HFT-driven Wall Street, fame can be so fleeting.

To quote the great Ray Davies:

Everybody's a dreamer and everybody's a star,
And everybody's in movies, it doesn't matter who you are.
There are stars in every city,
In every house and on every street,
And if you walk down Hollywood Boulevard
Their names are written in concrete!

--Written by Herb Greenberg.

Herb Greenberg, editor of Herb Greenberg's Reality Check, is a contributor to CNBC. He does not own shares, short or trade shares in an individual corporate security.

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