I'm Really Worried About Apple for a Dumb Reason

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There's been a fair bit of talk this week about Jim Cramer's comments on TheStreet and CNBC that his daughter just doesn't dig Apple (AAPL) much anymore, particularly iTunes.

(See Cramer's take here with TheStreet's Debra Borchardt.)

I appreciate this type of anecdotal information. Many AAPL bulls were quick to discount it, but that's just emotion coming through. Very typical. We filter out information that doesn't jibe with our desired reality.

As I riffed on Twitter this morning, there's no doubt much of this AAPL bearishness is comical, but in investing, the most loyal and passionate supporters of a stock do not necessarily win. Dig your heels in too deep and there's a good chance you'll get wiped out.

What Cramer's daughter thinks matters. I use observations from my kid and her friends all the time. They help create the portrait. But if you think for a second that Cramer bases his entire opinion of AAPL on what his kid thinks of iTunes, you're the one not taking the papers.

I really believe we're looking at an isolated set of cases. You know, the people who aren't feeling Apple anymore. I just don't think this crowd has had or will have much of an impact on sales anytime soon.

I saw a note from Telsey Advisory Group this morning that said it best: The firm reiterated a $710 price target on AAPL and questioned rumors of weak iPhone 5 demand. These analysts are just not seeing it.

Ultimately, Apple's problem comes down to the big numbers it puts up. We're working with a high bar. Never a good thing in a society of unrealistic expectations. Telsey thinks Apple will report first-quarter EPS of $12.68 compared to $13.87 last year. Psychologically, that looks bad to lots of people, because a key number went down. When we're seeing estimates on either side of 50 million for iPhone unit sales, it's tough to argue about Apple's dominance, yet investors could still hammer the stock if Apple sells "only" 49.5 million phones.

But Best Buy ( BBY) pops because things weren't that bad, and Dell ( DELL) spikes on what amounts to bailout chatter. You know how it goes: Investors will buy a stock floated by a company trying to find a few suckers to take it private, but they fret over Apple selling nine fewer iPhones than expected in Puerto Rico.

This creates grave concerns for me over this stock's future, not necessarily the company. I'm not sure it's possible for Apple to satisfy the people who have control over where this stock moves day to day. That makes it a difficult investment for most people from an anxiety standpoint, even if it moves much higher over time.

Anyway, this bean-counting mentality extends to more qualitative matters. If Apple has done anything that's ho-hum, it's iTunes (Ping included) and Apple TV. Allow me to qualify that.

If you are an Apple person and use/own these products, they work well for you. It's all about that seamless Apple ecosystem that hooks so many of us. However, if you're looking for the wow factor -- or as Cramer called it in the video, the next OMG! product -- here's where Apple lacks.

We know Tim Cook struggles with how to move forward in the living room.

And if anything should make us fret about iTunes, it's that Apple didn't change enough. This last update ended up almost as underwhelming as Facebook's ( FB) "big" Tuesday announcement. Too much pomp and circumstance, not enough sizzle.

As a complement to YouTube, Spotify and Pandora ( P), iTunes serves its purpose for me. It's good but has never been as awe-inspiring as iPod, iPhone, iPad and my Macbook Pro. I'm not sure it's supposed to be. iTunes is more a workman-like effort that ties together Apple's top-notch user experience.

Sure, I would like to see it be more social. It's really a joke that I have to link my iTunes platform to freaking Last.fm if I want to share music on Facebook and Twitter. And, I'll admit, when I took screenshots of iTunes for this article, I ended up feeling like a peek into my musical tastes would excite you more than what Apple has done with iTunes because, ultimately, they have done very little -- aesthetically or practically -- from update to update.

If there's any complaint about iTunes, that's it.

This raises the question: Does Apple really need to knock our socks off with iTunes to stay top of mind in a consumer market it clearly dominates? I'm still thinking about the answer.

-- 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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