US stocks slumped yesterday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average seeing its biggest decline in a year. Apple was one of the hardest hit technology companies, falling 3.8%.
Apple's share price [AAPL] has declined more than 20% since it hit $705.07 on 21 September. The stock is now at a five-month low.
The decline may have been for a number of reasons including: reports of shortages of iPhone 5 parts that mean Apple cannot meet demand for the iPhone; claims that Samsung is growing marketshare; and increased competition due to the introduction of products such as Microsoft's Surface.
In addition, news broke yesterday that Apple will have to pay $368m for infringing patents in FaceTime. The patents are owned by patent licencing firm VirnetX, who's value soared 28.4% yesterday, notes The Street.
However, like the majority of stocks, Apple may just have been affected by the US budget debate and Europe's debt crisis. There are also fears that Obama may introduce higher capital gains tax rates, as noted by CEO of investment firm Doubleline Capital Jeffrey Gundlach.
Gundlach's outlook isn't promising for Apple shareholders however. He told CNBC that he believes Apple could fall to $425.
Gundlach criticized Apple suggesting that the company isn't "innovating".
He said: "Once you start just changing the size of your products, I really think you're not exactly innovating. I'm wondering if they're going to start coming out with the tutti-frutti iPad, where it comes out in different colours," reports cnet.
Forward Management portfolio manager David Readerman also suggests that Apple may have lost its creativity. "We'll be watching. What's the future creativity from Apple? They've always been able to create new markets none of us realized we needed. It's to be determined if they can continue to do that," he told Reuters.
Readerman suggested that the growth following the launch of the iPhone has now slowed. "Companies go through growth cycles and we are in a hiatus. It may be three or six months here before we kick up in the next major growth cycle," he said.
In light of the uncertainty, fund managers say investors may stop using Apple as a safe haven to park cash in a volatile market, suggests Reuters.
The Guardian has a rather depressing report suggesting that Apple has passed its peek. Blaming Mapsgate, the launch of the iPad 4 so soon after the iPad 3, the "over-hyping" of new product launches, and the recent 'firing' of Apple execs John Browett and Scott Forstall.
"But the organisational structure that allowed Steve to wield power so effectively is now a huge liability. No-one could fill Steve's shoes, though some have tried - notably Forstall. But not only has Tim Cook removed Forstall, he did so in the name of creating a more 'collaborative' environment," writes report author Dan Crow. Crow is an ex Apple engineer, making his comments all the more poignant.
"[Apple under Steve Jobs] worked precisely because it was a dictatorship. But dictatorships without their dear leaders tend to fall to infighting, intrigue and inefficiency. This could be Apple's future," Crow predicts.
It's not all negative outlook, however. One report suggests that Apple will beat estimates next quarter.
"It is highly likely that many people will be upgrading to the iPhone 5 during the last three months of the year, and in particular this device will be given as a holiday present. Almost the same phenomenon played out last year when Apple beat estimates by 22.27%," is one reason outlined on The Motley Fool.
Another reason: "Apple should outperform is due to a mis-step by Microsoft." Basically, the pro version of the Surface won't be available until the end of the year.