Thoughts on why we sold our position
Apple has been our largest position for years. We sold it today, after it crossed our target. Here are some thoughts on why we decided to exit.
The main reason is that Apple has stopped trading like a stock that is just about to go out of business. The multiple is not very challenging but it is getting close to the S&P 500 multiple. (We don’t consider the cash generation and cash balance since the market doesn’t pay much for that either).
At current multiples the stock can still do very well. Former “held for dead” tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft or Google have shown that multiple expansion is absolutely possible.
For this to happen, growth has to happen. Something exciting needs to be within the company, it has to grow and the market has to believe in the growth.
What could that be for Apple?
When reconsidering the stock we’ll be working on the following themes:
- Computational photography
Digital processing of photo and video. Today most photo capture is still analog and then gets processed later for viewing and distribution. Hence, it is still real. Tools like photoshop allow you to manipulate photos, but fundamentally the process is still: a) capture picture traditionally with optical physics and then b)process the pixels.
The new way to doing things is that when you capture photos you can use digital technology to alter physical phenomena like focus, depth, width etc. In other words, you don’t need to spend too much time capturing the picture. Just take the shot and then sit down with the computer and do all the editing.
The next step would be augmented and then virtual reality.
Computational photography has to be at the center of Apple’s future since it is at the center of digital media.
The car is going to become what the iphone is today. A mobile device loaded with apps. How can Apple play in this space?
One of the main reasons we stuck with Apple is that we believe the iphone can become the ultimate security device. Security as in safe from all and everybody, even the FBI or the Mafia. The recent controversy between Tim Cook and the FBI is proof of that .
Imagine a world where everything is in the cloud and you are not safe at all about what happens to your data. But there is one place that nobody can get access to — the iphone. This would make the iphone sticky and secure its growth.
Apple is working on security and privacy but the narrative in the market is not there yet. We will monitor this development.