BBRY) or Nokia ( NOK), buying an Apple product only begins the sales process, it's not the end. There was a point when Apple relied solely on the strength of its Mac sales. The company's "core" was fueled by strong unit shipments of its iPods, iPads and iPhones. It would only rely on its famous ecosystem to help spur hardware growth. According to Cook, those days are over. Going forward, it is services that will drive Apple's growth and margins. But Apple bears refuse to accept this. Nor does it seem that this new reality matters to those who are constantly calling for Tim Cook's head. These pundits, meanwhile, pretend to be experts, as if they know better. They've even gone as far as proclaiming themselves "the voice" from Steve Jobs' grave -- talking about matters that they don't really understand. But the fact of the matter is, this is no longer Steve Jobs' Apple. That's right, I've said it.
I love Steve Jobs as much as the next person. I'll be forever grateful for his contribution to not only Apple but to all of humanity. But he's not coming back. At the risk of sounding like I'm speaking for him, I don't believe that he's disappointed with Tim Cook's performance. In this market, especially in the tech sector, everything is relative. How else can you explain that the company posted 1% revenue growth, yet it was considered "better than expected?" This is a "new Apple." As such, investors need a new way to think. The "quick buck" days of the past five years are over and, as with Steve Jobs, they ain't coming back. What will come back, though, is higher revenue and cash flow, which will spur a much higher stock price. The shares today are too cheap to ignore. This doesn't mean that I'm not discounting the hardware challengesthat Apple still faces from Samsung. I also appreciate that it's going to take better execution to draw the large funds back into the stock. But this is where things get a bit more interesting.
Read: When to Dump a Dud As narrow-minded as the Street has been about yearly and quarterly revenue growth ( Amazon ( AMZN) and Google ( GOOG) are two perfect examples), it suddenly didn't matter as much to analysts that Apple guided revenue down for the October quarter. In fact, guidance was lowered by as much as 5%, which also implies that revenue will be flat on a quarter-over-quarter basis. Yet, despite the projected decline and unassuming 1% growth in the quarter, the stock has soared by close to 20% since July 1. This is yet another indication that a "new Apple" is here. Unlike the days of Steve Jobs, I believe that Apple's new capital plan, which includes doubling the cash returned to shareholders over the next two years, will get the stock back up to the $600 level. I'm projecting that this happens by the beginning of 2014. With the buyback program having jumped to $60 billion to go along with a 15% dividend increase, as a shareholder I can't say that I want to return to the days of Steve Jobs. Before you cry "sacrilege," understand that I'm saying this with all respect due to Jobs. I'm in no way discounting his great legacy. But I understand he also left something else behind: Tim Cook. It's in Cook's hands Jobs confidently left Apple. And the pundits are fooling themselves, pretending they know Cook better than did Steve Jobs. To that end, for the next couple of years, Apple shareholders will be thanking Jobs for having made that decision. 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.