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Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 10:18 am PT (01:18 pm ET)

As Apple's growth slows, media questions if 'patience' & 'resolve' of Wall Street investors will last

Ahead of Apple's earnings call this afternoon, two major publications have openly questioned whether investors will continue to stand by one of the most profitable companies in the world, with the perception that Wall Street may be losing its patience with the iPhone maker in the face of slowing growth.


The New York Stock Exchange, credit Carlos Delgado via Wikipedia.


Slowing sales for both the iPhone and iPad are testing "investor resolve," Adam Satariano wrote in a piece for Bloomberg published Wednesday. A similar theme was echoed by Chris O'Brien of the Los Angeles Times, who authored a story that suggested Apple's March quarter could "test investors' patience."

Negative sentiment before Apple even announces the results of its its second fiscal quarter comes after the company's growth has shown signs of slowdown in the maturing smartphone and tablet markets. Apple sold a record 51 million iPhones last quarter, but that represented just a 6.7 percent year over year increase — well off from years prior, when Apple was seeing sales double year over year in the midst of the smartphone boom.

Satariano wrote Wednesday that although Apple is an "immensely profitable" company, Chief Executive Tim Cook faces "pressure" from the investment community to "introduce a new hit product."
As Apple prepares to announce its March quarter results, investors are already fretting over what the company will or will not do in late 2014 and beyond.
And O'Brien questioned "how long investors will be content to ride out a quiet period" until the company's "mythical new products appear."

Regarding those "mythical" products, many on Wall Street expect Apple to introduce new iPhones with larger displays this year. But even that may not be enough to satiate the demands of investors and media, as Satariano stated in Wednesday's report that it's "unclear what happens for Apple after bigger-screen devices."

Some still feel like Cook needs to introduce his company's next blockbuster product category, outside of smartphones and tablets, to reignite growth. That's why a number of investors have pinned their hopes on a so-called "iWatch," a rumored wrist-worn smart device that many on Wall Street hope is in the works for a late 2014 launch. Still others hope Apple will unveil an enhanced Apple TV set-top box, or perhaps even a full-fledged television set.




As for Apple's actual financial performance for the March quarter, AppleInsider previewed investor expectations on Monday, noting that Wall Street generally expects the company to report that revenue was about flat with the same period from a year ago. Many analysts on Wall Street do still remain bullish on Apple, recommending that investors buy ahead of anticipated new products expected to launch in the second half of 2014.

One thing highly unlikely to be on tap for this afternoon's earnings report are any hints at new products. Apple's notoriously tight lipped executive team rarely offer any indication about where the company may be headed during quarterly earnings conference calls.

Instead, investors waiting for Apple's next big thing will likely have to wait until early June, when the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference will kick off. It's expected that Apple will unveil both iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 at this year's conference.