"When the smoke clears off this miserable Dell quarter, people will realize that Apple's behind the destruction of the laptop."
Right on. The company that Steve Jobs built and Tim Cook can only hope to sustain deserves the credit or the blame -- depending on which "side" you're on -- for disrupting the entire computer industry.
I experienced the phenomenon Cramer describes the other day without even thinking about it.
My mother is in the market for a new computer. She owns a desktop. I told her to consider a laptop. She called to ask, "Why do people even need to buy computers anymore when the iPad exists?" Excellent question.
She, independent of the millions of others who likely have had the same thought, proved Cramer's point.
, Steve Jobs changed the world in more profound ways than we have begun to realize.
While a place still exists for desktops and, more so, laptops, the iPad shrank that market big time.
If you're like my Mom and all you do is check email, go on
, play a game or two, view photos, read books, leaf through magazines and search for information on
from time to time, there's really no need for anything more than an iPad.
I part ways with Cramer, however, when he predicts "a world of hurt for just about everyone, save Apple."
There's no question that Apple will continue to dominate the space for the foreseeable future.
And although I agree that
both came late to the mobile party, you cannot count them out as legitimate players.
I consider both names as buys instead of a dying Dell.
I have provided more color on these two companies in
, but, in a nutshell, Intel and Microsoft have positioned themselves well to hang with Apple and provide meaningful returns to shareholders.
It's not just the iPad that will cannibalize sales of traditional computers. Expect ultrabooks and forthcoming Windows 8-powered tablets to take their fair share.
Granted, they'll never be as cool as an iPad, just like a Windows-run
Lumia smartphone will never achieve the social status of the iPhone.
But, the combination of Intel, Microsoft and its collection of partners, such as Nokia, will gobble up enough mobile and gadget market share to make a difference. As a traditional operating system, Windows continues to rank as the major player.
Moving away from the direct computing space, several companies, particularly new media outlets, have been right there with Apple -- thanks to Apple -- on the new mobile frontier.
openly credits its exploding success to the iPhone.
I discuss why that stock has become a screaming long-term buy in
For similar reasons, I like
over the long haul, particularly on weakness.
A world exists, however, beyond Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Pandora and Facebook (though that's quite a quintet). You can pick and choose from a handful of retail companies that enjoy similar competitive advantages to the ones synonymous with Apple.
At the top of the list:
Lululemon reports earnings in early June. I tend to shy away from going long (or short) ahead of earnings, particularly on highflying stocks. Although it might be too risky for your blood, LULU remains an exception to this rule. I expect a blowout quarter.
Like Apple, Lululemon has momentum on its side. It also has a burgeoning cult following.
All too often, investors ignore geography. It matters in this space. When I visit my home in Niagara Falls, N.Y., I see absolutely nobody wearing Lululemon clothing.
When I am in Santa Monica or San Francisco, I cannot take more than 10 steps outside without seeing these clothes.
In Niagara Falls, I see fewer Macbooks and even fewer iPods and iPads than I do in relatively more affluent and tech-oriented places.
The point is that if you live in places like Dayton, Rockford, Birmingham, El Paso and other random outposts, but not in dynamic, trend-setting and populous hubs such as San Francisco, Santa Monica, Manhattan, Portland and Seattle, you might not quite "get" the power of LULU (and, to a lesser extent, Apple).
Call me an urban elitist snob, but it's an important point to consider: To be wildly successful, all companies like Apple and Lululemon have to do is to focus on the geographically targeted, high-end, predominantly urban consumer.
Of course, both, particularly Apple, continue to penetrate the mainstream (LULU and AAPL produce exclusive and aspirational products, after all), but there's no confusion about who makes up their bread and butter. If the economy tanks, that core customer will not put off the purchase of $148 yoga pants and the new iPhone 5.
Very few retailers can run with Apple on lines of exclusivity, social cachet and pricing power. Lululemon can. And, while it will not thrive because of Apple, it will continue to put up numbers in the billions because it looks more like Apple than any other retailer out there.
The beauty of it all is that, unlike the rest of the pack, Lululemon does not even try to emulate Apple. It stands out on the basis of its own merits.
>>To see these stocks in action, visit the
portfolio on Stockpickr.
At the time of publication, the author was long FB, P, MSFT, INTC, NOK and LULU