Why I bought Apple stock yesterday

Until just over a month ago, I”d never bought an Apple product in my life. But that”s my stash now.

Around my office, iPods are omnipresent (one co-worker just upgrated his old 40GB for a 30GB iPod Photo) and one guy I work with just bought a Mac Mini and a 12″ Powerbook. When we were in New York, the Apple Store in SoHo was packed – on a Friday afternoon.

So when Apple”s stock got dinged yesterday on “fears” that the Napster subscription service might hurt iTunes (don”t bet on it), I took the opportunity to buy AAPL at a slight discount.

Of course, I”m somewhat late to the party, but over the past couple of months I”ve become an Apple Believer.

Mr. Jobs is only now scratching the surface of the home PC market. I think the Mac Mini will be a huge success, and Apple may finally get a bit of a foothold in the PC game.

Think about the two obstacles that have always faced Apple:

1) Macs have always been much more expensive than Windows boxes
2) Macs have always suffered from a relative lack of software (compared to Windows machines)

But the Mac Mini is pretty affordable. And who uses “software programs” these days? The things most people do on a PC at home – surfing the web, organizing photos and music, playing games, chatting and emailing – are either web-based of handled by free software (such as iLife).

So you even the playing field a good bit there. Then consider that Macs are better than Windows machines at handling most of the tasks above – not to mention much easier to network; more secure and more user-friendly – Apple has the potential to be a big player in the modern PC market.

And in the world of convergence, Macs are much better equipped to serve as DVRs, audio jukeboxes, movie editors and the like. I bought the Mac Mini specifically as a home theater component, in fact.

We”re at a point where the PC of the future is being shaped. And more and more it looks like it”ll be Apple-shaped.

Outside of the PC space, Apple will continue plowing ahead with iPod and iTunes. Expect to see fresh new iPod models every six months or so, and don”t bet against a Napster-style subscription service for iTunes.

Down the road, who knows what Apple will be up to. iTV – where you can buy/rent digital TV shows or movies ala carte? If Steve Jobs could get the record companies to sell digital content online, why not the TV networks? Anybody notice that the DVI connector that”s on the back of every Mac just also happens to be what”s on the back of HDTVs?

I have no clue what Apple will come out with next. But they”ve made me a believer.

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