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Awaiting Apple's Breakout

|Includes: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

As Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) appears relegated to a narrowing 2011 price channel, I can’t help but wonder in which direction it will break out. I know it’s a good company with stellar products and a dedicated cult following customer base. But what about its dependence on consumers’ shrinking discretionary income in this jobless “recovery”?

For decades now, Apple has led the way with some of the sleekest, most functional products and the top-rated service of any consumer electronics producer. By a process of almost extreme vertical integration seen nowhere else in the industry, Apple has a tight rein on quality control — and charges a premium for it.

At its Worldwide Developers Conference this week, ailing Apple CEO and visionary Steve Jobs unveiled the company’s iCloud synching service… (Continue reading on