Apple: What's Not to Love?
From the iPod to the MacBook, Apple's products rock.
Before October 2001, the portable, digital-music-player market was fledgling and boring. At the time, I owned a Samsung something-or-other -- an awkwardly shaped, software-challenged piece of equipment that held about 20 songs. It wasn't until several months after the release that I got a glimpse of my first iPod. I knew the moment I saw an LCD display and a touch wheel that the game had changed forever. And that I had to have one.
While Apple (AAPL) may not always be the first out of the gate, it tends to quickly surpass the competition with style and originality.
The iPod -- the jump-start to this company's resurgence -- has evolved and improved since its debut. First it got smaller and sleeker. Then it could play high-quality videos. Then it got a touch screen. Now it has a video recorder on it.
Remember what we were using before? WinAmp? I just have to laugh.
Apple stock has exploded from single-digit territory to a mammoth near-$200 level in eight short years. See the historical chart below.
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Along the way, a slew of innovations kept it trucking along. The iPhone and Apple TV highlight the list. These are sleek and really cool, but one other thing stands above the rest: The line of MacBooks and its operating systems (latest version is Snow Leopard) is more functional and faster than any of its few competitors. Tack on that it's virtually virus-free and crash-free.
I made the switch from a desktop Dell (DELL) PC to a MacBook Pro about three years ago and I think I added 10 years to my life. The Mac starts when I want it to, runs software quickly, and -- once you give it a chance -- it's simple and easy to master. I recently upgraded to the Snow Leopard operating system without a hitch.
Apple's all-star lineup of products wouldn't have had the same impact if they weren't able to integrate perfectly with each other. Each one complements the next so well, it creates a world within itself.
Head to the iTunes online store and download an episode of your favorite show, for example. Then, with a simple transfer, take it with you on your iPod or iPhone for your commute, or watch it on your big screen in hi-def with Apple TV.
When Steve Jobs is on the road and there's a song he likes on the radio, he doesn't have to wait for anything. He says, "I think there's an app for that." Then he whips out his iPhone, downloads the application that tells you a song's name just by the sound of it, connects to the iTunes store from there, and buys the song.
What can I say? That's just really cool. It makes sense for both me as the consumer and for Apple's business.
People talk about the cultish following Apple has attracted over the years. But given the strength it's shown investors throughout this economic downturn, are there any doubters left out there?
The latest earnings report from Cupertino, California, is evidence enough that this stock still has room to run. CFO Peter Oppenheimer must have had a smug look on his face when he announced that revenue grew 25% year over year and that Mac and iPhone sales hit record highs. Across the board it was positive for Apple as it recorded its most profitable quarter ever. (See the entire conference call transcript here.)
Now back to my new favorite hobby: waiting for Apple's next product release.
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