One of the nuggets of Apple CEO Tim Cook's conference call, to discuss the company's so-so quarterly earnings report on Tuesday afternoon, was his pledge that Apple will deliver "amazing" new products.
Every Apple shareholder has one question, in one word: "When?"
One of Silicon Valley's -- not to mention Wall Street's -- great parlor games is guessing exactly when Apple will finally make good on Cook's promise to wow us all.
Until it does, you can expect Apple's stock to meander in its current trading range -- and hundreds of dollars shy of its $700 peak last September.
Cook won't be judged on his ability to unveil enhanced phones, tablets and computers. He will get credit or criticism based on the new products that Apple is working on.
Will they involve the auto? Or some sort of health-care innovation? Fearful of giving the competition a leg up on Apple, Cook is remaining sensibly mum.
Apple won't get any credit for its strong sales because these are givens.
What we now want to know is whether the magical touch of the late CEO Steve Jobs will remain in Cook's grasp. There has been wide speculation that Apple, since Jobs' death in October 2011, has been gripped by paralysis by analysis. The company is unable to take the plunge because it fears a failure to live up to Jobs' legacy of tremendous success.
That may be looking too deeply into it. Cook has proven himself to be a cool customer under fire. Still, the world wants to know: When?
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