With its towering market capitalization of $432.44 billion, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) remains one of the most widely-held investments in the market today. Regardless of whether you’re a populist investor of the savvy tech giant or not, the headlines that the company has been making over the past few months have been hard to miss. Yet for the moment, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) also carries a conflicting sentiment for most investors who are now forced to view the company through two distinct lenses.
A declining company that has lost its way
As a leader in technological innovation, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has done little to impress the markets when it comes to the latest versions of its most popular products. The iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini were far from the raving successes that once set the bar high for the company. The loss of Steve Jobs also appeared to have made a strong statement in regards to the lack of innovation to follow. It was as if the captain of the ship himself had been flung overboard.
The introduction of changed policies appeared to confirm this concept. When Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) reversed a 17-year hiatus from issuing dividends, it appeared as if the order itself defied how the company carried itself. After all, it was Steve Jobs who always believed that the company could make much better use of its cash than merely handing it back to investors. Had the company run dry on innovation?
Since marking an all-time high around $700 per share in September 2012, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) fell nearly 45% in a steady decline. While coming off of a historic run leading higher, the fact remained that Apple’s growth appeared to be waning in the background. The company ultimately missed analyst expectations two quarters in a row thereby highlighting a trend that was already beginning to take shape. Seen in the graphic below, Apple’s growth appeared to be failing.
A growing company in transition
But for all the clamor of a company in decline, an opposing view also suggests that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has merely shifted gears into another phase of corporate development. After all, it was always unrealistic to believe that a company could keep the pedal to the metal when it’s grown to be the size that Apple is now. Likewise, the general trend of the company’s revenue and earnings have continued in the right direction as seen in the graphic below. One could argue that the latest dips were mere realignments back towards the area of support Apple has traditionally seen. With Tim Cook promising more “surprises” and “product categories” to come in the near future, it might very well be that Apple’s trend of rising revenue and earnings will continue to hold.