Apple has been getting a lot of bad press recently about the new iOS 6, Apple Maps, and over not meeting market expectations in the last two quarters. However, most of the reviews for the actual hardware itself have been mainly positive so why are people causing such a fuss? To me the answer is pretty clear. Apple has continued to generate hype and excitement for their new products in the same fashion as when they were the only major player in the mobile marketplace. Now that other smartphones and tablets have risen to meet the competition Apples’ market strategy no longer has the same effect as when it first began.
“The turnout for Apple’s release of the iPad Mini on Friday morning was — just like the new 7.9-inch tablet — noticeably downsized,” Heather Somerville reported for Mercury News. - http://www.intomobile.com/2012/11/02/apple-store-lines-shorter-than-usual-ipad-mini-launch/
This may have to do with the fact that people are turning to other tablets such as the Google Nexus 7 and other smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S3.
“Apple‘s tablet market share has dropped to 50.4% in Q3 2012, down from 59.7% in the same period last year, IDC’s latest report reveals.” - http://mashable.com/2012/11/05/apples-tablet-market-share-drops-to-50-4-percent-report/
Expectations can only rise so high before a company is no longer able to meet them and Apple may have hit that line. Not to say that Apple will be unsucesful in the future, just that it will have to mover over and share some of the market with its competitors like Google and Samsung. Be that as it may, if Apple does not adjust the promotion track that Steve Jobs left it on, they may lose ground going forward.
“Apple (AAPL) recently released its Q4 earnings. For the second quarter in a row, the company missed the mark analysts expected. Does this signal the end of Apple’s rise, or is it now a good buying opportunity? Apple reported earnings of $8.67 per share compared to analysts’ expectations of $8.75. iPad sales fell short of predictions by about 1 million units.” - http://seekingalpha.com/article/959531-is-this-the-end-of-apple-s-run
Despite not doing as well as analysts expected, Apple will be opening 35 more retail stores around the world throughout 2013. This decision will match a similar investment they made this year opening 33 stores.
“The company is making an international retail push, and is looking to bring the number of overseas Apple Stores more in line with those located in the U.S. As of September 2012, there were 250 active Apple Stores in the U.S. compared to 140 international locations. Despite the decrease in retail’s overall contribution to Apple’s bottom line, per store performance was higher year-to-year, with each location garnering an average of $51.5 million in revenue compared to $43.3 million in 2011.” - http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/10/31/up-to-35-new-apple-stores-set-to-open-in-2013
No one will be seeing Apple go down any time soon, at least not too far. What we might see however, is the rise of other technologies popular enough to steal some of the spotlight in selective domains such as tablets and mobile phones. The other players in the industry may have finally caught the leader.
Also: See How The iPad Mini Stacks Up Against Competitors at http://mashable.com/2012/10/23/ipad-mini-compared/