Apple’s stock took a crushing last week after it revealed lower than anticipated earnings. Is the company in trouble over the long haul? Is Apple dead without Steve Jobs?

No.

In fact, the Los Angeles Times just revealed that Apple spent $1 billion in the December quarter on research and development alone. That’s a ton of cash, and we’re guessing that means there’s a nice little surprise tucked up the firm’s sleeves.

What could it be? We’ve been covering reports on an Apple iTV for more than a year now, and we hope that’s actually in the cards for a future product. Still, Apple’s known best for its secrecy, and Tim Cook has shot down the idea of moving past its Apple TV box (which is still just a hobby, by the way). iTV or not, the point is that Apple’s definitely working on something huge – it even said that the pop in spending “was due primarily to an increase in headcount and related expenses to support expanded R&D activities.” (Emphasis added).

Apple said the cash was used to focus on creating “new and enhanced products.” The company already refreshes its iPad, iPhone, iPod and Mac product family at least once a year, so there has to be something else in the pipeline that’s related to the boost in spending. We’ll just need to sit tight to find out what it is.

My gut reaction? It’s not spending $1 billion building a cheapo plastic iPhone.

Source LATimes