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“Has Apple Peaked?” That’s the query posed by Joe Nocera in yesterday’s New York Times. It’s the question that keeps a lid on the company’s stock market valuation right now. And due to the fact that it focuses on the company with the largest market capitalization in history the answer could mean countless billions in profits or losses for investors over the next decade.

Nocera does a great job laying out the debate:

No doubt, the iPhone 5, which went on sale on Friday, will be another hit. Apple’s halo remains powerful. But there is nothing about it that is especially innovative. Plus, of course, it has that nasty glitch. In rolling out a new operating system for the iPhone 5, Apple replaced Google’s map application — the mapping gold standard — with its own, vastly inferior, application, which has infuriated its customers. With maps now such a critical feature of smartphones, it seems to be an inexplicable mistake. And maybe that’s all it is — a mistake, soon to be fixed. But it is just as likely to turn out to be the canary in the coal mine.

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