Apple's Stock Falls Below $100! But There's a Good Reason, Unlike Why Apple Maps Still Sucks

If you're a casual shareholder of Apple, you may have had a nasty shock when you woke up Monday morning. In a matter of just one weekend, the value of Apple stock plummeted from $645.57 a share to $92.96, a staggering loss that would have spelled calamity for the tech-sector titan. Never fear, however, as Apple is doing just fine — the drop in value was part of a planned 7-to-1 stock split by the company, essentially adding six additional shares to their investors' portfolios for every one already owned.

This may seem confusing on its face — intentionally upping your company's number of shares and driving down the price in doing so. But in reality, it has a very practical benefit for Apple, which is exactly why they made the move. By increasing the total number of Apple shares on the market sevenfold, it's now much cheaper to invest. Having to drop over $600 for a single share, after all, is massively more prohibiting than a mere $90 or so. In effect, Apple has opened up their shares to a range of slightly less-monied investors, who otherwise might not have been able to buy-in for the previous, staggering price of entry.

The above graph, highlighting when Apple underwent a 2-to-1 stock split in 2005, lays bare the outcome Apple surely hopes to achieve, the capitalist titans that they are. After doubling their number of shares and dropping their value by half — down to just $44.86 — the price had surged all the way up to where it was Friday, nearly a $600 increase. If this 7-to-1 split can function along similar lines, Apple could end up reaping huge financial rewards, breaking their shares into smaller pieces but driving prices up all the same.

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So, in simplest terms, there's nothing to really worry about here, at least on the business end of things. If you're intent on funneling that Apple-obsessed anxious energy in another direction, however, there's still some hope in a different dismal regard: Apple Maps still sucks, and it isn't getting any better for a while.

It was a notable omission, amid all the hoopla of the 2014 Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco in May — "When are they going to tell us Apple Maps is better!?" Despite unveiling their upcoming new mobile platform iOS 8, slated for release in the Fall, details on the future of the oft-maligned, native iPhone map app were not forthcoming. Sources quoted by TechCrunch vary slightly on the reason for this, concurring that changes were desired and didn't come through, though differing exactly as to why.

What's very clear, however, is that Apple dropped the ball on this one, and unlike their falling stock price, they didn't mean for it to happen this way. It's a grim setback for Apple Maps, which has been a source of widespread derision since it supplanted Google Maps as the iPhone's default map app two years ago. A few highlight Apple Maps fails:

  • It gave directions to Dulles International Airport that, if followed properly, would've ended with a hapless driver on the tarmac.
  • At least two drivers, terrifyingly enough, actually did cross a runway at Fairbanks International Airport in Alaska, thanks to directions from Apple Maps.
  • It incorrectly claimed a Publix supermarket in Florida was actually a hospital. This claim would have been true in 2002, but it sure isn't anymore, which makes for a very bad run to the emergency room.
  • It once claimed that Berlin was located in the middle of Antarctica. Berlin is actually located in Germany, some 10,000+ miles away — what you might call a non-negligible difference.

Everybody had assumed iOS 8 was going to take seriously these issues, and it sounds like they tried to — they did want to roll out some improvements, after all — but under the weight of internal politics, poor planning, developers leaving from Apple, or some combination of the three, it looks like we'll still be crossing our fingers with every turn.