A muting of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone 5 sales because of trouble with the company’s map software is not built into the stock price. The map technology is so bad that CEO Tim Cook has even publicly apologized. There is at least anecdotal evidence that iPhone buyers have started to download Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) map software and AOL Inc.’s (NYSE: AOL) Mapquest product.
The forecast for iPhone 5 sales still runs toward 20 million last month and as many as 47 million before the end of 2012. But consumers are used to perfection from Apple’s new products, and press coverage of the Apple map problem has been universal. It would take only a very small drop in expectations to press Apple’s shares down sharply. Those shares trade at $665, down from a recently reached 52-week high of just above $705, but still up almost 90% over the past year.
The air up there may have become harder to breathe.
Douglas A. McIntyre