Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) made $18 billion in profit last quarter — the largest quarterly profit of a public company in history and a 37.4% increase from the same quarter a year ago.
Who needs Steve Jobs when you can earn $18 billion in 90 days?
Apple’s quarterly results surpassed even the most optimistic estimates from Wall Street (all 58 of them). The earnings surprise pushed Apple’s market value up by a whopping $57 billion — the equivalent of one General Motors Company (NYSE:GM).
What drove the strong results at Apple? The same thing that has driven results at Apple for many years now: the iPhone. For all intents and purposes, Apple is a mobile phone company. Almost 70% of AAPL revenue — and an even bigger share of profit — came from the iPhone last quarter.
Why were consumers so eager to snap up the iPhone? Did Apple release a breakthrough technology with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus that consumers couldn’t live without? Nope. Sales were driven by pent-up demand for a larger iPhone screen. That doesn’t sound like Steve Jobs style innovation, does it?
There is no doubt that Apple makes first-rate products, many of which I use and like, but that is no reason to buy AAPL stock. I also liked my Nokia phone and my Blackberry. You can see how things worked out for both companies in my chart below:
The history of mobile phone manufacturing and computer hardware manufacturing in general is ugly. Over the last few years, Apple has ridden a Steve Jobs wave of innovation that has allowed AAPL to maintain some of the highest margins in the industry. However, the odds of Apple maintaining those margins far into the future are about the same as the odds of winning big on the roulette wheel.
I can make a much better case to sell Apple shares than I can to buy them but probably not for another quarter or three as there is momentum behind the iPhone 6. Without Steve Jobs at the helm, Apple has so far proven itself to be an also-ran in the innovation department.
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