Jim Jubak has been writing about the financial markets since 1984. He’s been picking stocks online since 1997 and has run a mutual fund since 2010. Way back in 1984 Mr. Jubak worked at Venture magazine, covering technology, the venture capital industry, and the financial markets. In 1992, after rising to editor, he left the magazine to write In the Image of the Brain, a look at how engineers were building neural network computers based on the workings of the human brain and how neuroscientists were using what that machine hardware told them to dive deeper into the human wetware. Writing a book being the highly lucrative endeavor that it is, Mr. Jubak soon had to get a real job, and for the next five years, he worked as senior financial editor at Worth magazine. At the magazine, he spent his summer vacations building horrendously complicated spreadsheets to rank US mutual funds. And, while working as senior financial editor, Mr. Jubak wrote The Worth Guide to Computerized Investing, the...
After running into trouble earlier this year, Apple's latest news has impressed MoneyShow's Jim Jubak, and it now suggests the last half of the year may be quite exciting.
You’ve got to hand it to Apple (AAPL). It keeps ratcheting things up on both sides; that’s on both the risk and the reward.
The latest news out of the company is that it’s going to do a major revision of its mobile operating system, which really hasn’t been revised since 2008 or 2007. Big changes are really needed. They’ve got a chance.
And this is the positive side here. If they can do something that looks really snazzy on the software side, so that the next iteration of the iPhone—and the software will come out with a new iPhone probably in the fall of 2013—will look like a really neat, nifty package, it might give the company some of the innovation edge feeling that the market thinks it’s lost.
OK, so that’s the plus side. This is a really big thing. No one has really cracked the mobile phone market in terms of software very well. You’ve got Android (GOOG), you’ve got Apple, you’ve got Microsoft (MSFT). None of these are really doing what people absolutely want. None of them rave about its systems. The Apple system may be used to be, but it feels kind of old now, so this is a big opportunity.
The risk, of course, is that writing software is kind of tricky, especially when you’re dealing with a big, established base of devices that all run on older versions. You’ve got to do something that still keeps those up and running and then gives you new features.
The last time Apple did something in its software, we had the big splat in the face of Apple Maps, which sent people to Idaho when they really wanted to go to India, and so they need to avoid that. They also need to avoid it being late. The idea is the iPhone is supposed to come out in September or so. The software has to be ready.
The fact that software is very, very unpredictable in terms of writing it and getting it all to work means that there’s more risk that they’re going to miss this date, so here you go.
You’ve got more reward because this really is a big opportunity to be really neat and nifty again. More risk because, well, you’ve got a schedule that you might miss. You’ve got software that might have big glitches and embarrass you all over again.
Those two things going on makes it very hard to value the stock because the stock is either a lot more valuable or a lot less valuable, depending on his this binary decision comes out, and that’s what you’re looking at, as an Apple investor.