No company today elicits such devotion and dedication among its customers and shareholders like Apple. The fervor felt by Apple fans for its products, its leaders and its business underscore the company’s technological eco-centric strategy. While that loyalty has made for rich rewards over the long term, it will mean very little to a myopic stock market when Apple reports its latest financial results Wednesday.
When a company so dominates a business like Apple does, it is subject to plenty of rumors, especially when that company, like Apple, is disciplined to not respond to speculation. There have been a series of anonymous and Wall Street analyst worries floated in the past quarter centered on the iPhone 5. First were concerns Apple couldn’t get enough supplies to build the phones fast enough. Then there were hints Apple cut its supply orders, suggesting slower sales.
Apple optimists have been quick to defend the company even as its stock has fallen from $700 to around $500 per share since September. The stock drop has come even as Apple probably sold a record number of iPhones and iPads during the holiday quarter.
No doubt Apple will trumpet its financial prowess on Wednesday. And it should. After all it generates more than $500 million dollars a day. But the short-sighted stock market has been conditioned to expect big numbers. Therein is the challenge for Apple: incubating such devotion without inflating expectations.
Tom Hudson is anchor and managing editor of Nightly Business Report, produced by NBR Worldwide and distributed nationally by American Public Television. In South Florida, the show is broadcast at 7 p.m. weekdays on Channel 2. Follow him on Twitter, @HudsonNBR.