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What does the future hold for Apple?


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For so many years, Apple was the golden boy of the tech industry. Seemingly untouchable, each product they released flew out of the door. Users camped overnight to get their hands on the latest goods. Profits soared, the company grew, and it seemed like it was unstoppable.

There’s been a steady stream of gadgetry rolling out of Apple for the past decade. Mac computers delivered a whole new level of sophistication and capabilities. The iPod changed the way we consume music forever. Then the iPhone hit, and the smart phone generation began. The iPad followed, and tablets are now taking a sizeable chunk out of the PC market.

Then the questions started. Critics asked about drops in profits, mutterings spread about the long-term viability of such a pounding pace of growth, and speculation remains about Tim Cook’s leadership. The next big launch is expected to be software, as opposed to a new gadget. With no new hardware on the horizon, what next for the technology giant? Where’s the next big thing?

It’s easy to point out the potential failings of a company that at one point could do no wrong. As such, it would be foolish to say that Apple’s had its day: yes, profits are down, but with the recession dragging on, the figures they are logging are impressive, with quarterly revenue of $43.6bn and net profits of $9.5bn. A company cannot grow continuously, forever, without slowing.

However, what this does highlight is the speed at which the technology sector operates. One day, Apple can do no wrong. The next, questions are being asked. This is not an industry where standing still is an option. The pace of innovation is such that not having a new product planned, when customers are used to having a new toy every six months, means you are slipping behind. The iPhone used to be untouchable. Now it’s one of several very compelling options in the mobile world.

But with Apple, you never can tell. This may be the lull before the storm. Just because a company is not broadcasting their investments and every move, it does not mean that they don’t have some impressive cards to play. And not doing the same as they always have may be a genuinely clever move to a new way of working, and positioning themselves for long-term success.

Is the darling of the tech world over? I highly doubt it. The latest Apple Worldwide Developers Conference sold out in just two minutes, whereas last year it took two hours. They are still capturing audiences. But it will be interesting to see their next move. If nothing else, a more open playing field may mean we see other companies bringing exciting new innovations to sell to recovering Apple addicts.



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