Something odd has happened. Something has occurred which has not happened in over a decade in fact. Apple, the world’s biggest company and the de facto king of consumer technology has posted its first dip in quarterly revenue in 13 years.
Okay, you say. Such stellar growth could not possibly be continued, even for a company as large and as innovative and as cool and exciting as Apple. Well, that is true and a ‘dip’ had to be anticipated at some point. Only that these latest figures from Apple seem to indicate something a little bit more than a dip or a blip and rather something more akin to a tumble.
Phone Market is ‘Flat’
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook the smartphone market is something to blame for the dramatic loss of revenue that Apple has just posted. This revenue by the way is over $5bn less than compared to last year with sales in the last three months down 12% on the same period in 2015.
There were around 10m fewer iPhones sold when compared to the same period last year also so when Cook says the smartphone market is ‘flat’ he may have a point.
If we delve a little deeper however we can probably change the word ‘flat’ to stagnating, and not so much for the market itself but the iPhone. We now are seeing two new iPhones per year which means that each version of the iPhone is an improvement on the previous rendition rather than being anything majorly innovative or intuitive. If you have an iPhone 6 would you really need to stump for a 6s or even a 7 when it comes out? Maybe not.
While these figures obviously don’t account for the new SE which is likely to bring previously un-accessed sales from the lower end of the market or those who have never had an iPhone before, it remains to be seen whether it will fill the sales shortfall.
The iPhone has become a bit, boring and although the current iPhone collection are all great pieces of hardware consumers seem to feel that they want something more.
It seems Apple is paying a bit of a price for its own great success.
The next big thing
The 2000s were Apple’s decade. This is an undeniable fact. In terms of technology, no other company had anywhere near the hardware impact that Apple had. The company went from perennial underachiever to the brand that few ever saw coming. Microsoft was blown out of the water with consumer technology products like the iPod and its many iterations. The iPhone was what propelled the company into the stratosphere with the iPad helping it stay there. And then things kind of dried up a little
The Apple Watch, for many, is a pretty niche device but it still shows a commitment to innovation and on-going research and development for the company but it cannot carry the company like the other major products of the 2000s can do.
Apple has been riding on the crest of a hardware wave and that looks as though it is dipping.
Not that the company is in any kind of trouble yet, though the news did send Apple’s stock value crashing by 20%. The industry feels like Apple needs to give them something more. iPhones and iPads and iWatches are all well and good but we are used to them now and sales will continue but the products are old news now. The industry needs something new, the next big Apple invention.
With rumours of iCars and a move into more media content perhaps it won’t be too long before the industry gets what they want.
But, as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for…