Lest we forget,
) wasn't the only tech titan trying to recapture some of its
former gloryon Tuesday .
), whose 14-year reign as the world's number-one cell phone
maker abruptly ended in 2012, also unveiled a battery of new
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.
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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."
) stock, down 1.17% on the day, clearly didn't like the sound
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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,