So my dad is a (poker and) stock trading buff. I grew concerned about the Flash "problem" with ipads and potentially other future apple products in the early days of our seminar here and wrote him (having apple stock) about whether it might be a good time to sell some apple -- aka. cut and run, right? :). I feel so guilty now.
I thought this group might be intrigued, or at least entertained by his response. He wrote:
Before I answer, there is some history with Steve Jobs' inclination not to make Apple products open systems. When Cary Lu was working on the first Macintosh book, he spent time with the development group. He felt that Steve was too intent on making the Apple product a closed system (use only Apple devices, such as their own printers even!). I later wrote about this in an editorial. Much of the technology of the Mac seemed to be borrowed from Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where a lot of the original work on PC design was done (after Doug Engelbart's group moved there from SRI).
I received a lengthy response from one of the Mac developers. He said that the PARC ideas had really been co-developed by the Mac group (a lot of technology gets moved around by engineers talking to each other in the Valley, actually). And he said that the reason that Apple did not make their products more open is that their peripherals were so far superior to any others around that they felt it would be redundant technology. I think that was actually an expression of Steve Jobs attitude.
So this is not a new problem. But if Jobs wants to take Java out of the iPad, that could be a big mistake. Note that this is just a rumor at this point. Also, note that several other competitive pads will be coming out (or have already). One of them will run all the regular Windows programs, so it can be used like a computer, not just for playing with apps. That makes it more suitable for business users. Microsoft has come out with an iPhone competitor that the press actually likes. Microsoft is desperate to compete in the mobile sphere, so it is going to pour resources into doing this (they are already calling for Ballmer's firing, because the stock has done so poorly, and the technology seems to be shifting away from the familiar Wintel (Windows with Intel chips) computers. So I think Apple will face increasing competition.
But Jobs is very good at staying a step ahead in spite of all this. The link between the computer and TV is the next target, and I suspect that they will do very well (fighting against Google as well there).
So now to answer your question. The penetration of the iPhone and iPad technologies around the world is so far pretty small. So they have an opportunity to build up tremendous sales overseas as the dollar weakens -- increasing their profits. So Apple has a ways to run yet. There will definitely be ups and downs (not just up, as it has been recently). But I think it can go a little farther before the competition threat makes the stock go down. If anything happens with Jobs, that is another story. That would make the stock drop like a rock. So taking a little off the table soon might not be a bad idea. He looks pretty thin and frail.
Steve Jobs has a history of making design mistakes because he envisions computers more as a home device than a business tool. The Apple II was supposed to be for storing recipes and a few other things that never happened. Then Visicalc came along and made it a great tool for small businesses. The first Mac was supposed to be a home computer and didn't have enough memory. Quickly it became clear that users wanted to be able to work interchangeable between their home and office PCs. So the Mac group did an full out redesign project to add more memory to the Mac and make it more business-oriented. I met Steve at a meeting (in Napa Valley) where he gave a talk and told about their full-out effort to upgrade the Mac. He told me he was a big fan of Cary Lu, who wrote a number of editions of the Mac book (but unfortunately died of cancer a few years ago).
So now Steve's at it again! Business users want Java (as does everybody -- and especially the educational community and graphics designers, big Apple supporters). He may think you only need to play around with the Apple-approved apps on the iPad (because they are so superior to anything else), so he may be back to going the closed system route again. He always has been very stubborn, but maybe someone will talk him out of it this time.
Okay, back to work.