) is currently thought of as the world's most secretive tech
company. It also happens to be the corporation with the most
Is it time for the Cupertino, California-based tech giant to
put an end to the pre-release hoopla?
While Apple was once considered to be the hottest stock on
Wall Street, the company's shares have plummeted more than 36
percent over the last six months. Year-to-date, Apple is down
more than 21 percent.
In the early months of 2012, a simple iPhone 5 or iPad 3 rumor
would have been enough to give Apple a much-needed boost.
Investors, bloggers and consumers eagerly awaited every detail
about the company's future products. Since Apple likes to avoid
the spotlight until it is absolutely ready to unveil a new
product, rumors have become the next best thing to an official
The popularity of Apple rumors is not without cause. While
many turn out to be little more than a made up story that
attempts to predict what Apple may or may not do, there are
typically a few rumors that describe exactly what the company
will release next.
They may be premature (the MacBook Pro with Retina Display was
rumored for a year before it arrived), but the accuracy is what
attracts people to the rumor mill. This is why investors kept
Hype and anticipation reached an all-time high last year
before the iPhone 5 was unveiled. This was good for Apple. In the
nine months before the device was unveiled, Apple rose more than
60 percent. In the months since its unveiling (September 12, 2012
to March 8, 2013), Apple has lost more than 34 percent of its
Some may argue that investors have been misled with
overinflated sales expectations. Apple sold
47.8 million iPhones
last quarter, setting a new record, but the Wall Street consensus
indicated that Apple would sell 50 million units.
Others believe that Apple has simply run its course as a
growth company -- in terms of its share price, at least. As true
as that may be, the firm still earned more money last quarter
than it did during the year-ago period. Why are investors not
taking advantage of the opportunity before them?
It could be because of the rumors. The expectations for the
iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 were so high that investors cannot be
faulted for being disappointed. They are great devices, but their
features were at the low-end of the rumor spectrum.
Every publication said that the iPhone 5 would be
, lighter and contain a
. That was all but a given. The
more radical rumors
turned out to be false.
The same thing happened when the iPad 3 was released. It was a
very nice tablet with a very attractive display, but it
lacked the impressive battery boost
that had been rumored since December 2011.
Initially, rumors seemed like harmless tools to hype Apple's
products before the company is ready to make an official
announcement. However, if they have begun to turn off investors
and create distrust among existing shareholders, then it is time
for Apple to take action.
The company may not be able to stop fake rumors from
circulating the Web, but it can most certainly lock down its
supply chain to prevent legitimate information from being
If it does, investors, bloggers and consumers will eventually
come to realize that there is no truth to any of the rumors. Then
and only then will they begin to ignore the lofty (and often
false) rumors that stand to hurt Apple the most.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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