Green Apple All Part of the Profit Pie

Apple’s products are flying off the shelves, stylish, innovative, simple, and most importantly, COOL.
After a year abroad, I came back to meet an old and supremely tech illiterate friend, a man whom I basically taught from scratch how to use a computer a couple years ago. He approaches me as I'm typing away on my PC, “I see you still don’t own a real computer,”  he states, like a physician breaking news to a patient that he has cancer.
If an Apple a Day keeps the doctor away, my friend would be immortal. After starting out on PC's, Apple Man owns every product they've produced in the last few years, and thinks himself a tech guru ever since he figured out how to share a picture on Facebook from his IPhone. 
First off, my hat is off to Apple's design and marketing departments. They've been able to cultivate a well deserved best in show reputation, and with it command the upper end of the market, and the swollen profit margins that accompany. 
How are they going to protect that market, it's fanatical fan base, and add to it? 
Well, first and foremost, the quality and ingenuity of their products must continue to impress. Steve Jobs was the tech version of Albert Pujols, except Jobs hit a home run every at bat. As long as Apple has a couple more of Steve's bullets in their chamber, I think this is a reasonably safe bet for the next couple years.
So, what could possibly be a drag on the world's most valuable brand?  Color, specifically the lack of a green hue. 
Apple has historically scored extremely low with environmental groups such as Greenpeace, based both on suppliers, primarily in China, who dirty the world in the name of maximizing their profits, as Apple's own use of coal and nuclear based utilities for energy here in the United States to power energy sucking data centers.
A couple years ago, Steve Jobs actually wrote about the perception that Apple wasn't considered green, promising that they were ahead of the curve and heading even further in this direction.
I believe him, but nevertheless this perception remains, and coupled with the company's recent labor issues in China exposed by the New York Times, makes the brand a little less lustrous in the eyes of the Whole Foods crowd, who have the money to buy organic.
So recently Apple has announced that they are building the largest, private solar farm in the world to provide energy for a massive data center to be used for the ICloud in North Carolina. Greenpeace has stated that Apple is merely green-washing their image, as they estimate only 10% of the energy the ICoud will consume will be generated from renewable sources.
Nevertheless, when we are talking about the world's biggest solar farm, that doesn't come cheap. That wins points with this Whole Fooder. It makes me look at the company in a green light- as in opening my wallet to go start buying their products.
As the price of solar technology continues to drop, other companies will realize the additional cost of using a greater percentage of their energy consumption from renewable sources is more than offset by the goodwill and free press (such as this column) that it engenders.
Greenwash or not, Apple is changing my perception of it, and once again playing leader. This is the type of company you want to buy. Apple's not even an expensive stock, trading at 14 times earnings with a boat load of cash, (like 100 billion- it's actually more like an aircraft carrier.)
I've held off the majority of Apple products, with the exception of an IPod a few years back. If Apple keeps this up, they'll gain many new customers, protecting and adding value to their brand by greening it. Heck, I might even be forced to buy "a real computer."

Recommendation: Spruce up your portfolio by adding a few shares of Apple 


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