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At Apple, Investors Still See Evolution, Not Revolution

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Apple TV, in the meantime, has become Silicon Valley's Godot -- everyone is still waiting for it.

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Lest we forget, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) wasn't the only tech titan trying to recapture some of its former glory on Tuesday. Nokia (NYSE:NOK), whose 14-year reign as the world's number-one cell phone maker abruptly ended in 2012, also unveiled a battery of new products.
The Finnish firm's fall from grace is a salient reminder that, in technology, the only constant is change. Amid increased competition, and having recently reported a first-ever sequential slowdown in iPad sales, Apple's stock has tumbled 18% in 12 months. Are yesterday's rollouts enough to stop the rot?
First off, snap judgments should be avoided with all things Apple. How silly does the snickering and skepticism that greeted the original iPad's introduction in 2010 now seem. It would go on to become the most talked-about tablet since Moses, upending an entire industry en route.
That said, the much-anticipated announcements appear to continue a troubling trend of evolution rather than revolution from the Cupertino company. This may be why shares responded by ending off 0.29%, admittedly after nine straight increases, even as the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) advanced to another record.

(See also: Three Investing Experts on Apple's Many Smart Decisions... and One Mistake)
The absence of a fingerprint sensor got the thumbs-down from many, yet there was still much to admire. Highlights included faster processing power, a sharper resolution Retina display on the iPad Mini, and a re-branded iPad Air that is notably lighter and sleeker than previous incarnations. All with the Jony Ive-inspired aesthetic beauty we have come to expect of Apple, a design delight that remains a marvel even as it is increasingly taken for granted.
Surprises? A couple. Apple interestingly opted to make its new Mac operating system, OS X Mavericks, available for free. Its CEO, obviously taking aim at Office, claimed that by doing so, "We are turning the industry on its ear." Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) stock, down 1.17% on the day, clearly didn't like the sound of that.

(See also: Apple Inc. Rekindles Its Rivalry With an Old Foe)
And an unexpected price hike for the Mini indicates it continues to cannibalize -- if a man called Cook will forgive the phrase -- the flagship iPad itself to a greater extent than anticipated. This smaller device is increasingly important for Apple, proving that even Steve Jobs got it wrong on occasion. (The Apple legend once famously called tiny tablets "dead on arrival.")
All told, yesterday's developments are essentially incremental upgrades, aimed at keeping things ticking until either the iWatch or Apple TV are finally unwrapped. The latter, especially, has become Silicon Valley's version of Waiting for Godot, and if Apple, two years after the passing of its iconic co-founder, does not deliver soon, investors' patience will eventually wear as thin as these latest products.

Editor's note: Justin Sharon authors Minyanville's stock upgrades and downgrades articles every morning. He has extensive experience on Wall Street, most recently at the Private Client unit of Merrill Lynch. A 12-year spell in its research department encompassed the eras of Blodget, boom, bust, and Bank of America. Read more of his work for Minyanville, here.


No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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