Better Buy: Apple or Every Dow Jones Stock?

It’s a question that cuts straight to the heart of investors’ indecision. Is this the time to seek safety in numbers, or does one take a shot on what’s arguably the market’s highest-quality stock?

Either choice would be fine, for the record. But Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is a better pick than a broad-based fund for most investors right now, even when that find includes all 30 blue-chips found within the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Although the iPhone is losing steam as the company’s breadwinner, more than a few blue-chip stalwarts are bumping into a headwind at the same time Apple’s poised to catch at least one tailwind.

Sign pointing in opposite directions, with people carrying arrows walking away from each other

Image source: Getty Images.

Apple’s catalyst

Apple’s impending tailwind is 5G connectivity. While most wireless carriers deployed some 5G coverage last year, this is the year these long-awaited wireless broadband speeds have finally become widely available to consumers. AT&T has launched hundreds of new 5G markets since March. T-Mobile added 5G service in 121 cities in October alone. Verizon is in the fight as well, announcing last month that its 5G service is now available to more than 200 million people in 1800 U.S. cities.

Largely missing from this explosion, however, are the smartphones capable of 5G connections.

That’s not to say they’re not out there. The Galaxy S20 Plus from Samsung has been well received, and Google’s Pixel 5 has garnered some respect even if reviewers balk at its price.

If there’s any one single 5G phone consumers have been holding out for, however, it’s the iPhone 12 series unveiled last month. As Counterpoint’s research director Jeff Fieldhack commented in October: “There is significant pent-up demand from iOS subscribers putting off upgrades until these 5G devices launch.”

The iPhone 12 was available for pre-order earlier this month, and deliveries began just a few days ago.

Of course, these next-gen iPhones are a means to an increasingly important end for Apple. That’s sales of apps and digital services. While services only accounted for 22% of Apple’s…