We saw this with the iPhone 5, which was only incrementally better than the iPhone 4S. It's worth asking how much of a difference a new phone can make to the state of Apple today, especially since the quality gap Apple once enjoyed over its rivals -- particularly Samsung, has been shrinking. Also, given the lack of excitement on the Street in BlackBerry's ( BBRY) new phone, Apple has to blow the market's mind just for its device to be considered good. This is not another indictment on Apple. But the point is, the company is more valuable than what a new phone might reveal. Instead of looking at all of the possible markets that Apple will enter in the coming years, the Street continues to appraise Apple on how fast the gap is closing with its competition. Investors shouldn't fall for it.
Can Apple achieve (let's say) $200 billion in revenue by this time next year? Better yet, can the new phone bring in enough EPS growth to get the stock back to its all-time high level of $705? Even if the ongoing success of the iPad and the iPad Mini were to help meet these robust revenue figures, will there be enough margin to support a P/E above 15? While there are certainly plenty of question marks, I do believe in the long-term prospects of this company. Given that first-quarter unit sales fall short of expectations, coupled with growing competitive threats, Apple has to deliver more than just incremental improvements to the iPhone to get investors to believe again. At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL. Follow @saintssense This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.