What Apple should be worried about
Samsung have the formidable Galaxy S III out, the Galaxy S II still stands up to the iPhone 5, the Galaxy Note II, the rumored Galaxy S IV and shrunken Galaxy S III. This is just Samsung. The best thing about Samsung is that they don't have just one phone - they have many. Don't want a 4.3-inch device? Grab the 4.8-inch device. Not big enough? Get the 5.3-inch Note. Still not big enough? Get the 5.5-inch Note II.
Increased threats from other competitors - HTC, Motorola, Microsoft and Nokia. HTC have some great Android-powered devices out and some great-looking devices on the horizon. Motorola are the same, and have even more power behind them now that Google acquired the device maker. Microsoft has Windows Phone 8 out soon, which I don't think will be a huge threat - but it's a threat nonetheless. Nokia now with Microsoft, are also someone else to watch out for. I think Samsung will take most of the market themselves, but whatever is left will be taken by the others.
Google's constant refinement of Android. Ice Cream Sandwich propelled Google into a threat bigger than Apple anticipated, as its OS became easier to use, and more feature-packed. Jelly Bean ironed out what little bugs were in ICS, and gave us Project Butter - making the OS run at an eye-busting 60 frames per second. Key Lime Pie, Google's next Android iteration, should reach us early-2013, and should really drive Android home.
The above-mentioned market conditions - the US is fragile. The EU is fragile. We're staring at multiple wars in the Middle East, and countless other politically- or economically-driven factors which Apple should be obviously thinking about.
A huge issue lies in Apple's continued reliance on other companies such as Samsung, Foxconn, Intel, etc. If any of these companies were to suddenly start experiencing financial difficulty, or if the market were to suddenly drop, or there were to be a natural disaster or massive terrorist attack - Apple would be directly affected. They have their fingers in so many pies, that they need their gears to be constantly oiled or else they're in strife.
Consumers. Consumers are the biggest anomaly. Apple can have the best people in the world working for them, marketing, producing, creating and pushing out all of these new devices - but they can never predict how a product will be once it's out in the wild. Consumers are waking up to the cult-like status that Apple have built over the years, and are looking for alternatives.
Consumers are what Apple need most, but they seem to be leaving them in droves. The iPhone lost huge sales in the last quarter, dropping from 35 million sold, to 26 million - something Apple attributed to consumers waiting for the iPhone 5. This means that Apple's next quarter should be so mind blowing, that it is undeniable that the iPhone has sold huge numbers - so we should be looking for the 10 million sales down, plus the usual 35-or-so million sold. 45-50 million in the next quarter, or Apple are on a downward trend.
In the past 60-70 years or so, the economy of the western world and more particularly the United States has turned into a massively consumer-driven economy. This is mainly because it turned into a hugely debt-based economy, where people were no longer saving up for that car, or that house, or that new product they wanted - they were slamming down their credit or store card and having it right now, now, now.
This type of consumer has ruled the world, and without credit and debt, Apple would be out of business tomorrow, as consumers who didn't have money up-front would be left with no option. Telco's giving subsidies in order to reduce the price on a two year contract count on this, so without credit, Apple are finished.
Will Apple hit those numbers? No, I don't think so. I would be willing to place bets that they don't hit anywhere near 50 million sold in the next quarter - but what are Apple going to say if they don't hit anywhere near these numbers? Who or what will they blame? Will they blame the current patent case with Samsung?
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