Apple’s stock market value, peaking to $3 trillion on Monday, hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Rapid digitisation, along with the pandemic, has accelerated the iPhone-maker’s share price – leaving it up more than 200% since the lockdown in March 2020. Investors are reportedly fleeing to the safety of Apple’s stocks in an uncertain global economy. The good news is the rally has been accompanied by steady revenue growth and profitability. Amazon, Google parent company Alphabet and Microsoft too have market caps exceeding $1 trillion, underlining how Big Tech has been increasing its clout globally. Apple leads this wolf pack. Full credit goes to the company’s drive for innovation and hard-nosed consumer sense.
Apple has reportedly spent more than $82 billion on R&D over the past five years, upping it each year the way some countries increase their defence budget. Steve Jobs had bet that consumers would be ready to pay, and pay good, when commoditisation becomes popular practice in the hardware industry. When the iPhone was launched in January 2007, Apple was valued at $73.4 billion. This iconic product continues to post robust growth today. Apple maintains tight control and integration between hardware and software for performance and intellectual property protection. What has stood out this year is the payoff it has received by introducing its own M1 processor in the new series of Mac computers.
But Apple is not without problems – and rivals. Its upcoming virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) headsets will vie with gear from Meta Platforms. Investor worries over Apple having peaked its user base – with no guarantee that future product categories will deliver another iPhone – are not entirely misplaced. Apple’s current valuation is seen in these circles as a product of economic crisis and investor panic due to lack of consumer options. But if there’s one company that has shown innovation, imagination and the power of the brand, it is this shiny fruit of a tech company, that is so much more than just a tech company today. Pehal News