Huge interest in AAPL’s stock today. The company reported blow out numbers and surged after hours – before falling back – all in the immediate aftermath of Jobs’ announcement yesterday that he is taking a dire sounding medical leave of absence. AAPL’s stock is iconic. GM, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Nike, are American brands known throughout the world that inspire both love and animosity in equal measure, but Apple is different. In Paris for example, I hear lots of Parisians tell me how America sucks, while they slurp Coke, wear Nike, ride Harley Davidson, eat McDonald’s and visit Euro Disney just outside Paris. Conversely, many despise American globalization and think Disney is a cultural Chernobyl. It’s complicated. But not so with AAPL. The products and the company have an unequivocal, international reputation of excellence that has single-handedly kept America in the game of selling dreams. I know from my own occasional America-bashing in the street – whenever I say something like, “Tell me one good thing about America” the response is almost always, Apple. So my interest in recent developments at Apple are not about the stock price, but about the future of the world’s perception of the U.S. In my opinion, if AAPL hits the skids, like some are predicting, not out of disrespect for the company, but from the prospective of market history and the laws of gravity; there will be nothing left to point to. Google is in bed with the NSA. Facebook has signed a deal with the devil. Starbucks never worked out that whole intellectual property theft thing with the coffee growers they rip off. What’s left without Apple? Obama turned out to be a stinker and most of the NHL apparently is moving to Canada.