Portfolio manager Shane Obata has one thing to say to investors who\u2019d like to get into Apple (Apple Stock Quote, Chart, News, Analysts NASDAQ:AAPL) but are worried about the valuation: hold your nose and buy it. It\u2019s been a whale of a year for the US tech giants like Alphabet (Alphabet Stock Quote, Chart, News, Analysts NASDAQ:GOOGL), Amazon (Amazon Stock Quote, Chart, News, Analysts NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple, all of which have posted big numbers in 2020, with Apple leading the pack. Alphabet delivered a return of 30 per cent for the year, whereas Amazon, which sprinted ahead as COVID-19 protocols came into place and e-commerce sales went through the roof, is looking at a 78 per cent return for the year. But Apple is up 82 per cent for the year, solidifying its place as the best-performer among the FAANGs. As for the others, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) came in with a return of 33 per cent and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) came in at 63 per cent. Apple seems to have silenced its critics who in years past worried that the company\u2019s growth was too tied to the iPhone and that product innovation was drying up from the tech giant. But the talk these days is more about the Apple ecosystem including phones, tablets, applications and services, all linked together as a force greater than its parts. Plus, it doesn\u2019t hurt that iPhone 12 sales are coming in strong. Earlier this month, Japanese financial newspaper the Nikkei reported that Apple aims to produce up to 230 million iPhones in 2021, roughly 20 per cent more than made in 2020, and signaling stronger-than-expected consumer demand for the iPhone 12, which supports the new 5G networks. Obata says that even with the run-up in Apple\u2019s share price in 2020, it\u2019s still a stock you should be looking at going into 2021. \u201cAlphabet is actually trading at a more reasonable valuation in my opinion so I think if you\u2019re talking about deploying capital right now then that that would be my gut instinct,\u201d said Obata, portfolio manager at Middlefield Capital, who spoke on BNN Bloomberg on Wednesday. \u201cThat said, we\u2019ve done tremendously well owning Apple and we continue to like the company. It has gotten a little expensive here \u2014it\u2019s definitely trading over a 34 P\/E right now so it\u2019s not cheap,\u201d Obata said. \u201cBut the the Apple story is still about the ecosystem, it\u2019s still about luxury. These are premium products.\u201d Obata thinks Apple\u2019s revenue growth will come from a surge in iPhone sales as a major cycle of upgrading is about to occur. \u201cIn terms of innovation, a lot of people have been asking about the new iPhones and what\u2019s new, what\u2019s this new phone going to do I think that\u2019s been the wrong question because we\u2019ve seen innovation on wearables, we\u2019ve seen innovation in services, and these are becoming a bigger part of the business,\u201d Obata said. \u201cOn top of all that, I think we\u2019re really starting the beginning of a serious upgrade cycle in terms of phones. 5G is not available to a lot of people yet \u2014maybe you have some capabilities here and there but until the full network capabilities are built out I don\u2019t think we\u2019ll really get to enjoy that\u2014 but I don\u2019t think that really matters for consumers,\u201d he said. \u201cConsumers have been pushing back the kind of upgrade cycle, , \u2018Oh I don\u2019t really need a new phone.\u2019 Well, now you have an excuse. There's something new and interesting in the market and it\u2019s 5G \u2026 and I think that\u2019s enough to get consumers to pay up and I think we\u2019re going to see that reflected in the 2021 numbers,\u201d Obata said. Stocks in autonomous car technology were boosted last week by a report from Reuters suggesting that Apple\u2019s automotive R&D business, named Project Titan, is building both a battery and the car to go around it, although Apple has not yet commented on the rumour. CNBC\u2019s Jim Cramer called the autonomous vehicle news one more reason to own Apple. \u201cHopefully, everyone will forget this story tomorrow and the stock will sell off, giving you another chance to buy into weakness,\u201d Cramer said last week. \u201cWe know Apple likes to disrupt big end markets it doesn\u2019t get any bigger than the auto industry,\u201d Cramer said. \u201cIf there\u2019s anyone who can give Tesla a run for the money, it\u2019s Tim Cook and his team at Apple.\u201d But Obata is more circumspect about Apple\u2019s potential foray into self-driving cars, saying, \u201cI\u2019m not very much excited about that. I\u2019m not exactly sure how that will play out and if it happens \u2014 which I don\u2019t think it will \u2014 maybe in partnership with someone else, but on the long history of car stocks, specifically, it\u2019s a really tough business.\u201d \u201cIt\u2019s really capitally intensive, it\u2019s lower-margin than Apple\u2019s other business and I just don\u2019t see why they would need to do that,\u201d Obata said.