This essay originally appeared in Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. Sign up here.
Apple is in a funk. Whether it’s short-term or the new normal is anyone’s guess.
The latest sign came on Thursday when Apple temporarily lost its title as the most valuable U.S. company to Google’s parent, Alphabet (GOOG). Their market capitalizations—a byproduct of their stock prices—briefly swapped in ranking at just below $500 billion because of Apple’s increasingly depressed shares (AAPL).
For sure, the most valuable company crown is more psychology than substance. But still, Apple’s losing it—even if only for a few hours before its stock recovered—still stings.
Wall Street, in its typical what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude, is worried. Never mind that Apple had $10.5 billion in profits in the most recent quarter and $50.6 billion in sales. Most any CEO would be giddy to report similarly “worrisome” results. But growth, which Apple lacks because of falling demand for iPhones and iPads, is what investors crave.
Ben Schachter, an analyst with Macquarie Securities, echoed the sentiment of many on Wall Street about what Apple must do to reignite its business. In a recent research note, he pointed to the possibility, based on Apple’s reported hiring of a large number of auto industry veterans, of Apple changing gears entirely and building a car.
“The bottom line is that AAPL needs new innovation either in its current categories or in entirely new products (car?) in order to drive consumer and investor excitement,” he wrote.
Late on Thursday, Apple did manage to pull off a surprise. Although it wasn’t some splashy new gadget, it did announce that it had invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-sharing service Didi Chuxing. Why would Apple plow money into an Uber rival? Maybe Apple wants to lock in a buyer of its would-be iCar. Or maybe it really is chasing innovation, no matter what it is.
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In fact, Apple is ramping up spending on research and development, signaling that it may be interested in more than merely creating updated iPhones and smartwatches. It doubled R&D spending from $4 billion in 2013 to $8 billion in 2015, and is on track to spend $10 billion this year, according to Neil Cybart, a financial analyst who tracks Apple on his blog, Above Avalon.
Patient Apple investors, it looks like, will eventually get those new products they’re hoping for. Whether that’s enough to jolt the company from its funk is another matter.