Apple Fanatics, Bulls and Bears: A 2013 Preview for All

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I received the most excellent Tweet the other day. In fact, it's precisely the type of thing you strive for in my line of work.

I'm telling you. Twitter is where it's at. And it's not going anywhere anytime soon, if ever.

I will continue to find ways to integrate it into the work I do on TheStreet and vice versa.

Anyhow, I've been getting lots of good Twitter action lately. I think it's partially because of the situation with Apple ( AAPL). I'm laying the volatility out there for what it is: The result of capital gains tax-related selling initially, followed by panic selling fueled by irresponsible and knee-jerk Wall Street analyst coverage.

Not everyone agrees with my take, but it -- and the other subjects we've been throwing around lately -- adds to a series of compelling and provocative conversations that between the whole lot of us. It's a great give and take. And like the aforementioned Tweeter said, it's addictive!

AAPL not only provides the ultimate battleground, it will be, as it has been for several years now, the most exciting stock to watch in 2013.

Here are the most important things we should pay attention to once Ryan Seacrest (yeah, not Dick Clark!) rings in the New Year.

Apple TV. Obvious yes, but that doesn't make it any less significant.

We've got well-respected cats coming in on both sides of the spectrum and everywhere in between. Some people think we'll get a full-fledged television set; others consider the notion a Tim Cook head fake.

I think we get a TV.

Apple dominates because it provides an awesome and addictive user experience. That means great hardware where -- and, yes, I know this is controversial -- the software or the content comes in second fiddle. Don't get me wrong, I love Apple's ecosystem, but without the beautifully-designed devices they're simply not as dominant of a player as they have become.

iStayingPower. If you're prudent, you have no choice but to approach Apple's future beyond the forthcoming holiday quarter with caution. That means you should probably start from the premise that Tim Cook cannot come up with "the next big thing."

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

If he comes through in Jobsian fashion, fantastic. If not, you have to have a handle on the contingency plan for not only continued success, but, more importantly, continued dominance.

You see how tough it is for AAPL to maintain anything that even resembles a lofty level. That's because there's a confidence problem. That's why AAPL sells off, but ( AMZN) does not.

After the holiday numbers come in, we'll need to find a way to assess demand for the remainder for 2013, acting as if there's nothing revolutionary set to burst from the pipeline. Up until the past few months, Apple has been excellent at providing a bridge between new products. That didn't happen, to some extent, last quarter.

If iPad mini and iPhone 5 provide blowout holiday numbers, can they continue to sell through January-February-March 2013 to maintain the momentum. That's a huge question. You can't ignore it.

Acquisitions. I expect Apple to pony up in 2013. Twitter. Foursquare. Yelp. Or, almost as likely, something completely and totally out of nowhere.

Lots of people think Apple will make a social-related purchase. Makes sense, and, while it might happen, it's too obvious.

We're going to see something else. Maybe plenty of something else. And it's going to have to do with Apple taking as much of its supply chain in house as it can. Buying a big chip company or some other type of wide-ranging component supplier. Or both. Count on it.

No matter how any of this shakes out. And whether AAPL's stock approaches and passes all-time highs, one thing is most certain. If Apple slips, it will be of its own doing. There's no meaningful competition on the horizon.

Research in Motion ( RIMM). Please. Hewlett Packard ( HPQ). You really must be joking. Microsoft ( MSFT). Surely you can't be serious!

These companies cannot win in the consumer space and, if anything, Apple has already conquered them or is stealing share in the enterprise.

Google ( GOOG). Give me a break. Amazon. Same thing.

You don't beat Apple in a price war.

Hopefully somebody steps up. If nobody does, it will still be entertaining, but not quite as fun as it was watching Apple compete with itself in 2012.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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