Many are worried about the state of Apple's stock (Nasdaq: AAPL), which after a months-long climb -- a result of the hype around the next-gen iPhone and iPad(s) -- has finally come back down to earth. On Wednesday, Apple stock dropped an extra four percent to hit a five-month low for the world's most valuable tech company -- a 20 percent drop-off from the all-time high it hit in September prior to launching its iPhone 5.
Wall Street is clearly picking up on customer sentiment: Even though Apple surprised consumers with another slew of product announcements on Oct. 23 just a month after it launched the iPhone 5 and a new family of iPods, the anticlimactic feeling after its second announcement ended was inescapable.
Apple's October event introduced the fourth-generation iPad and an all-new 7.9-inch iPad Mini -- both of which launched last Friday -- as well as a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, an updated Mac Mini, and a completely redesigned iMac in both 21.5-inch and 27-inch flavors.
On paper, it would seem like Apple's October event was a major win for the company. Five new products, all with different specification combinations aimed at all kinds of pricing tiers, would easily be a year's worth of work for most tech companies. However, not everything was as it seemed:
The fourth-generation iPad, albeit faster in every way than its third-generation predecessor, lacked any truly unique features that would make an iPad owner want to trade up.
The iPad Mini, which most considered Apple's biggest chess piece for the upcoming holiday season, while thin, sleek, and light, left much to be desired. Not only was the display a significant downgrade from the Retina Display quality Apple fans are used to on the iPhone and third-and fourth-generation iPads, the price was higher than what most were hoping for. Many consumers, particularly those in the market for a new tablet, hoped Apple would price the iPad Mini similarly to the other 7-inch tablets from Google and Amazon, both of which cost $199. The iPad Mini starts at $329.
Wall Street had the same reaction customers did when Apple announced the price of the iPad Mini. In fact, the very instant Apple's Senior VP of Marketing Phil Schiller announced the price of the iPad Mini, Apple's stock shares immediately dropped $8. Talk about disappointment.
But what about the other Macs unveiled at the event? The Mac Mini, although its upgraded internals were certainly welcome, isn't the sexiest computer Apple sells, nor the most popular. As for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, Apple didn't pack anything new into this model that isn't in its 15-inch model, which truly wowed audiences when it was introduced this summer at WWDC 2012.
The only new computers worth talking about after Apple's anticipated October event were the redesigned 2012 iMacs; unfortunately, the first model of that computer -- the 21.5-inch flavor -- won't start selling until late November. Apple will begin selling its 27-inch iMac shortly thereafter in December, just before the holidays officially kick off.
Once the first iMac is released later this month, which will give critics a chance to tear it apart and glow over its new features like its incredibly thin 5mm frame edge, Apple's stock shares will likely increase, and may not drop significantly until after the holidays end.
There will be plenty of events to keep Apple busy from now until January: After the 21.5-inch iMac, Apple will also officially release iTunes 11 later this month as well. The free upgrade to the redesigned music platform, the first major refresh in two years, will give iTunes and Apple users something to talk about -- and play with -- until Thanksgiving.
Once Thanksgiving ends, after Apple subsequently holds its typical Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, which were extremely successful for the company last year, the gift-giving (and, more importantly, buying) season will officially begin. Apple is currently atop most holiday wish lists -- for tech products and otherwise -- and will have plenty of hot products to sell to customers this year, including the iPhone 5, fourth-generation iPad, first-generation iPad Mini, 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros, fifth-generation iPod Touch, seventh-generation iPod Nano, and the newly redesigned iMacs, among other products.
Apple stockholders may be worrying because the company's shares have continued to decline since September, but this is pretty typical for a period following a major product announcement from any company, not to mention two. In Apple's case, the company has pretty much upgraded every single product it sells in the past two months, and now that the hype machine has officially slowed down, analysts and investors aren't used to this eerie sense of quiet around Apple. But not to fear: Demand will soon pick back up as the holidays approach, and once Apple debuts its new redesigned iMac and releases iTunes 11 to the public, this recent hiccup in Apple's stock will be just a memory.
Apple shares dipped below $540 in late Thursday trading and currently sit at $537 in pre-market trading Friday morning. Apple's stock peaked just above $700 in mid-September.
Smith manages and coordinates the activities of the technology subsection of the company, contributing...