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Apple Has 6 to 12 Months Before Investor Sentiment Sours Says Analyst

Jeff Macke

Apple (AAPL) events hold a special place in the hearts' of both investors and consumers. The simple fact that outsiders care about such events tells you just how unique Apple is. Unique, and very large, as the company briefly crossed a $400 billion market valuation.

With the specter of Steve Jobs still looming over the company, they held a special event today in the New York City's Guggenheim Museum and announced… wait for it...

A deal to sell textbooks.

There was no sizzle, no surprise, no revelations of the next super-product; just a simple, relatively prosaic agreement to help sell more iPads and iPad-specific textbooks to schools.

Apple has dominated the educational system for literally decades. It's one of their core strategies and always has been. The question isn't whether or not today's announcement is a lucrative extension of an existing strategy. It is. Much more important is if this is the best Apple has got, and if so, what it means to an investor-base accustomed to "sizzle."

According to David Garrity, tech analyst at GVA Research, the move keeps Amazon (AMZN) from striking a similar deal for its Kindle. Textbooks were "the final vestige of the analog world to fall pretty to digital transformation," says Garrity.

The issue still comes down to vision, or perhaps lack thereof, coming out of Cupertino. "Clearly we do have a vacuum, from a marketing standpoint," says Garrity. "From a presentation standpoint and, perhaps over time, we'll have a deficit from a vision standpoint."

In the absence of Steve Jobs' vision and showmanship, Apple risks becoming, gasp, just another company. Garrity says the biggest immediate threat is still coming from Amazon's Kindle.

"The competitive distance is closing," he says. "From that standpoint Apple has maybe 6 to 12 months before investor perception on the margin turns against it."

Company devotees may not like hearing it, and those who have bet against the company and the stock continue to get vaporized, but Apple needs to start dazzling the Street once more if they want to remain the unquestioned king of the technology world.

Garrity gives them until the beginning of 2013. Are Apple's days numbered? Let us know what you think in the comment space below.