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Apple Investors At a Crossroads

Now that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) shares have plummeted 20% after hitting a record high in September, investors are deciding whether or not the company will remain top dog heading into the holiday season.

Some fear that the current management team just isn’t what it used to be…

As Brian Colello, Senior Equity Analyst at Morningstar, says, “There has been some concern about whether Tim Cook and the management team can live up to Steve Jobs’ reputation. There was a bit of a management shakeup recently. There’s concern about Apple maps. And so sometimes we hear fear over whether Apple has lost its touch. We disagree with that, but we can at least recognize that some investors may feel that way.”

On the other hand, Colello also points out that Apple’s focus on vertical integration could keep it well ahead of the competition…

“The biggest strength of Apple is its ability to seamlessly integrate the hardware, software and services. If you look at a company like Samsung that does very well with hardware – but they don’t own the software. Google and Microsoft [are] on the other side. They own the software but have never owned the hardware). They are making moves to get into hardware, but… they are years behind what Apple is doing.”

Either way, since 80% of the company’s sales will be attributed to new gadgets this quarter, the company will have to continue innovating constantly in order to maintain its momentum.