I've watched Apple from the sidelines for what feels like forever. It's impossible to ignore this company, as even if you don't follow it, you will be inundated with news from this company. So I feel like I've tracked Apple for ages, waiting patiently for my opportunity to buy. Last week I took the plunge. Having missed the first million percent of this stock's growth since the company's renaissance under Steve Jobs' second stint, I'm now in it for the cheap, mature company with a moat that I believe it to now be.
The moat comes from the app ecosystem. This is very similar to the moat Windows enjoys with the desktop. Users want access to the best apps so they have to buy the OS that has it, and developers want to access the most users, so they have to develop for the OS that has them. It's the same reason I bought Microsoft a few years ago when it too had a single-digit P/E.
One key difference though is that Android is stronger than the competition for Windows. However, Apple attracts the users most loose with their wallets, and so the developers still prefer iOS users. Even if it remains a duopoly, I still don't mind the economics of the situation. Good luck to a new entrant, though.
I'm not expecting much growth. While the world continues to use its phones more and more, and therefore services revenue rises, perhaps the price of the hardware drops some. On the other hand, myaybe something works out with the self-driving cars, or with some video streaming service. But even if it doesn't, I expect this OS moat to carry Apple for several years. At a P/E of less than 10, with a lot of share repurchases, I'd expect the stock to do very well.
Disclosure: Author (finally) has a long position in shares of AAPL