Investors have bid the stock up 62% on what? On faith? On the premise that Dick Costolo is the poor man's Reed Hastings? On the notion that the company will win enough of a mobile advertising market dominated by Google (GOOG) (and, to a lesser extent, Facebook), to make a dent worthy of AMZN-like high flyer status.
I'm all for the narrative. I'm all for the story stock. I'm even all for Twitter. But I'm done being all for names with real question marks outperforming the company with quite possibly, outside of Google, Amazon and Starbucks (SBUX), the fewest question marks in corporate America.
The world gets hip to this line of thinking in 2014. And not merely on a hunch or because it felt like time. Apple will trigger euphoria that, this time, will follow through. Because confidence lost will have been reestablished.
It starts in January on the Q4 earnings call. I'm not sure if we'll get any sort of pre-announcement from Apple, but there's no question in my mind that while Amazon owned the holiday shopping season from an e-commerce standpoint, Apple will have owned it from a consumer electronics perspective.
We still don't have any better idea of what Tim Cook's "next big thing" will be than we did when he took over for Steve Jobs. But we have iPad Air. A game-changing device superior to every other tablet or similar device on the market. Don't understate the importance of this release. If you're only as good as your last game, Cook and Apple are pretty strong right now.
For some reason, iPad Air has flown under the radar of most observers, cast off as a slightly lighter version of its predecessor. Not so. It's the real deal. It's a game changer. It's Tim Cook proving that he can take something meaningful from conception to implementation and beyond.
In 2014, he wins widespread confidence and ups the ante as AAPL takes it rightful spot at the head of the pack in tech and on Wall Street.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.