Apple is in the middle of one of the most stunning financial runs in the history of corporate America. The company is currently averaging nearly $4 billion in monthly profit. It is sitting on a pile of cash amounting to $110 billion. This could just be the beginning.
Thanks to a combination of anticipation and luck, Apple — which nearly went bankrupt before the last tech boom — is poised for even greater heights if it can continue to out-think, out-innovate and out-execute its competitors.
TIME says there are three major forces buoying Apple’s growth and pushing the company forward.
Innovation: One of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ key lessons was to skate to where the puck will be, a figure of speech borrowed from hockey great Wayne Gretzky. It boils down to anticipating the key action, and avoiding the late hit. Jobs believed you shouldn’t rely on market research. He said the consumer didn’t know what they wanted. Jobs insisted on defining needs that consumers didn’t know they had. Needing to replace their Sony Walkman with an iPod, for example.
Motorola Razr’s were THE phone to have, until the iPhone was unveiled. For the first time, consumers had the power of a computer in their pockets.
Opportunity: Three ongoing trends have created the environment for Apple to continue its ascent: Smartphones, tablets, and Asia. As of March, smartphones outnumbered basic mobile phones. This shift has created the “app economy”. Tablet sales are soaring. Apple has positioned itself at the high end of this market.
Asian and new developing markets are just starting to boom. The staggering potential: hundreds of millions of new consumers. Apple’s Chinese sales have tripled over the last year. 55% of the company’s sales came from foreign countries.
Execution: Apple CEO Tim Cook inherited a solid ship after Steve Jobs death last year. But as COO for the last decade, Cook played a role in Apple’s success. He honed Apple’s production and supply chains to a razor sharp edge. Low-key, but focused and driven, Cook has been an excellent choice to replace Jobs.
Says TIME, “Cook’s responsibility has been to execute Jobs’ vision, and he’s been so successful that the company finds itself in an unusual and enviable position for a global corporate giant: Apple literally cannot produce enough of its products to meet consumer demand.”
There are many reason for investors to still feel bullish about Apple. The list above is merely the tip of the iceberg.