Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is unstoppable. In the past quarter alone, Apple sold 37 million iPhones, which represents a little less than 9% of the global handset market. In 2011, Apple’s cash grew by $31 billion, much of which was thanks to growth in foreign regions (http://seekingalpha.com/article/442491-apple-s-ceo-announces-plans-to-initiate-dividend-and-share-repurchase-program-transcript). Additionally, as Peter Oppenheimer, Chief Financial Officer and Senior VP, pointed out during the company’s conference call on March 19th, the company generated another $16 billion in its first quarter of 2012. In April of 2011, Apple stock traded for about $341 million; as of April 2, 2012, Apple stock traded for $618.63.
One of Apple’s more recent developments has been the iPad. Launched in April of 2010, the first iPad sold nearly 15 million units worldwide in the year 2010 alone. Apple also sold over 15 million iPads in its fourth quarter of 2011, and the new iPad has been met with great success. As Seeking Alpha contributor Hawkinvest points out, Apple shares jumped 20% after the new iPad was announced in March, meaning that investors are greatly appreciative of the company’s new developments (http://seekingalpha.com/article/473311-why-apple-shares-probably-won-t-be-hitting-700-anytime-soon). Currently, the iPad accounts for nearly three-quarters of the tablet market in the United States despite facing competition from Amazon’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Kindle tablets.
A big announcement for investors came from Apple’s March 19th conference call. During the call, CEO Timothy Cook announced a quarterly dividend of $2.65 to be paid to Apple’s investors. A dividend from Apple means that the company is confident in its ability to consistently turn a profit and develop new and successful technology. While Apple has been a strong growth company, especially in the past year (Apple nearly doubled in value in the past 365 days), some investors have stayed away from it on the basis of its volatile pricing and its lack of a dividend. As Hawkinvest also notes in their article, Apple is the single most valuable company in the world with a market capitalization of over $570 billion. To give you an idea of just how high that number is, consider that the next most valuable company in the world is Exxon (NYSE: XOM), which has a market capitalization of $404 billion. Interestingly enough, the article’s author used this figure to demonstrate why Apple shares may not reach $700 anytime soon. Though the author has reason to believe the stock will not grow to $700 within the next few years, the article still contains many good reasons to invest in Apple stock, such as its popularity (http://seekingalpha.com/article/473311-why-apple-shares-probably-won-t-be-hitting-700-anytime-soon).
Apple has more or less blown its competition out of the water. For instance, Apple dominates the tablet market with its iPad; though Amazon’s Kindle Fire has seen strong sales numbers since November of 2011, it still has accomplished less than half of Apple’s iPad sales. Furthermore, Samsung’s Galaxy tablet hasn’t even touched the iPad’s sales numbers. While Apple and Samsung are embroiled in a few international lawsuits over rights to sell their respective tablets, the numbers do not lie: Apple is killing its competition in the tablet market. As far as Macintosh goes, Apple has outperformed PC manufacturers for the 23 consecutive quarter, according to Timothy Cook. Apple’s iCloud service has accumulated 100 million users since its launch, and the company has dedicated itself to investing in worldwide distribution. In fact, Apple’s worldwide approach has gained notice in Japan: the country recently ranked Apple as its number one consumer brand (http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20120329D2903A16.htm).
Apple is a must-have for investors. Some investors may say that Apple has reached its ceiling as far as stock prices go, and others believe that the sky’s the limit. In any case, it is clear that Apple is a secure, valuable stock that will be paying a strong dividend within the year. Apple products are incredibly popular, dominate the technology markets, and are not disappearing anytime soon. If the stock doesn’t grow much more in the next few years, it is still a good investment because it is secure. Yet, Apple also announced a $10 billion stock buyback on March 19th, and such a move can further increase the value of the stock. CEO Timothy Cook is committed to doing what is best for Apple and its shareholders. If you buy Apple stock, you will not regret your investment.