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Forget the iWatch: Apple's Next Big Thing Is Hidden in Plain Sight

Stocks in this article: AAPL

BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Have you heard the latest updates about the upcoming Apple (AAPL) iWatch? Some sources are reporting that the hotly awaited wearable device will begin production in a Taiwanese factory in July. That's just weeks away!

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But I'm not here to talk about the iWatch today. Apple hasn't even announced the thing yet, and I don't know any more about it than you do. More important, the existence of an iWatch doesn't change the key takeaway in Apple's stock right now: It still makes a lot of sense to be a buyer here.

That's because Apple's "next big thing" is hidden in plain sight. And it could be the most important catalyst that no one is talking about right now.

The Missing Hype Over Continuity

At the Apple Wordwide Developers Conference keynote on June 2, execs introduced Continuity, a set of features that will flow the user experience among a single customer's Apple devices, letting a user start writing an email on your iPhone, for instance, and finish it up on your Mac.

Continuity has lacked a lot of hype because it's simply a logical next step for the firm's Mac OS X and iOS operating systems. Devices already talk to one another to some extent right now, and Continuity's features (such as Handoff, shared calling and Instant Hotspot) merely make the process more seamless than ever before.

But the new features do speak to a bigger driver of sales growth for Apple in the years to come.

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Ever since iOS was released, Apple-watchers noted the gradual shift in Mac OS X toward the simpler mobile operating system. Everyone believed Apple was planning on merging the two platforms into a single one-size-fits-all OS. But the introduction of Continuity this month confirms that hasn't been happening at all.

At the end of the day, a desktop computer performs certain tasks better than a tablet or phone and vice versa. That's not exactly a shocking revelation. Likewise, amalgamating Apple's product families into a single lowest-common-denominator offering doesn't exactly make much business sense for a firm such as Apple that can sell multiple devices to customers.

Instead, the point of Continuity is to make those multiple devices work together well.

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