Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has taken the lead as the best-performing stock in the Dow Jones industrial average, up 38.03% to $217.73, beating the other 29 components for 2019 so far. The Dow itself is up 15.47% to 26,935.07. Apple’s performance has been the upward swing of a seesaw that began when it posted mediocre earnings at the end of June. The recent release of the iPhone 11 family has been well-enough received to tamp down some of the earnings results anxiety.
Apple has been able to convince many investors that it is no longer just an iPhone company, although most reviewers believe the new iPhone will be a large success. Its combination of “reasonable” prices, better cameras and substantially longer battery life are considered winning features. Apple usually reports the results of early sales of each new iPhone. Investors will not have to wait long to see if their hunches are right, if Apple stays true to form.
Apple has lobbied for several quarters that the iPhone no longer needs to be its lifeblood. CEO Tim Cook usually gives just a sentence of comment about monthly earnings. The last one was telling. “This was our biggest June quarter ever — driven by all-time record revenue from Services, accelerating growth from Wearables, strong performance from iPad and Mac and significant improvement in iPhone trends.” Services were usually stuck at the back of the Apple portfolio of businesses.
Apple’s charge deeper into the services business is its TV+, a competitor to Netflix, Amazon and over a dozen other streaming video services, some from America’s largest media companies. People who think that the project is a long shot argue that the current competition is firmly entrenched. Apple’s price for the service at $4.99 a month after a seven-day free trial may be too low, as well.
Whatever the fate of Apple TV+ may be, the new iPhone 11 was just good enough to catch investors’ attention as they debate the sources of Apple’s future. For the time being, that is good enough.