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Apple's Stock Price: The Real Reason It's Through the Roof

As Apple's stock soars to a new high, the lesson is about anticipating the next big breakout product.
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As Apple's stock reached a record high on Tuesday, edging past $100 a share, the stock market excitement around the Cupertino, California company was a fresh reminder about something intrinsic to the iconic tablet and smartphone manufacturer.

Apple is as famous for what it might do as for what it has already done. So, while you may not become the next Apple, which at $600 billion currently makes it the most valuable company in the world, there are some takeaways for any business owner.

Among others, define your product so well and so beautifully that everyone wants it. Also, don't rest on your laurels. Create new markets and deliver products with the same allure.

Yes, that's easier said than done. But it's something worth aiming for.

A look at Apple's earnings for the second quarter shows a slow and steady growth, but nothing to merit the current jump in stock price. Sales for the nine months ended June 29, 2014 increased 5 percent to $140 billion. Profits also increased 5 percent to $31 billion. By way of comparison, Microsoft reported an 11 percent growth in revenue for the year ended June 30, 2014, to $86 billion. (Profit of $22 billion increased a scant 1 percent over the same time period, however.)

So what is all the excitement about? Not necessarily the iPhone 6 and its unscratchable Sapphire screen, says Patrick Chung, partner at Menlo Park, California-based venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates.

"Those things are incremental and don't explain the step-up in stock price," Chung says.

What consumers and investors are banking on is Apple's ability to innovate in new, potentially hot areas, such as wearable technology and health care, Chung says. In the same way that the iPhone became the category killer for smartphones and tablets, spawning multi-billion hardware and software industries around those products, it could innovate in these new areas as well. 

Apple is already tantalizing audiences with its wristband smart device, for which it won a patent in July. Similarly, its forays into healthcare, including a health dashboard in its forthcoming iOS8, is both timely and important.

"There's been a lot of activity in wearables and digital health," Chung says. "But there is in not yet an iconic consumer brand that has done anything with either one." 

Last updated: Aug 20, 2014

JEREMY QUITTNER | Staff Writer | Staff Writer, Inc. and Inc.com

Jeremy Quittner is a staff writer for Inc. magazine and Inc.com. He previously covered technology for American Banker and entrepreneurship for BusinessWeek.




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