When the stock was above $700, everyone was talking about it. When the stock dropped below $400, everyone was talking about it.
Ever since the big stock drop earlier in the year, I notice most people talk about Apple now in a more skeptical and even negative way. It sounds almost pre-determined that Apple jumped the shark. It was once the king of the hill but now it's lost its way.
It no longer has Steve Jobs. Its margins are lower. Where's the innovation? You've heard these choruses over and over.Yet, very quietly, Apple is now closing in on $510/share. I can't help but be reminded of the pessimism surrounding Facebook (FB) back last November in the teens. When things are bad (and good), people love to pile on. Especially in this age of Twitter, no one misses a chance to take a shot at a company or person when they're really down on their luck. At the same time, when a company is getting slammed it's next to impossible to imagine it getting back on top again. If someone had told you last November -- right before the IPO lock-up expiration -- that Facebook would have a chance of getting to $60 by the end of 2013, you would have laughed in his or her face. By the same token, today it's difficult to imagine the scenario where Apple stock gets back above $700. Yet, the move may just be starting again. Next week, we will find out how Apple's September quarter ended up. That will include a couple of weeks of sales for the new iPhones. Based on the recent Verizon (VZ) data, most are thinking that 32 million iPhones sold in the quarter is a lock and some are predicting several million more. However, the bigger deal in the near term for the stock is how the holiday quarter shapes up. Analysts will be listening closely for indications from Tim Cook and Peter Oppenheimer and what kind of modified guidance they provide for the coming quarter -- keeping in mind that guidance is usually very conservative.