Apple Inc is made up of a number of highly profitable components and products. iPhone, Mac, iPad, Services, Apple Stores, Watch, Apple TV, and so on. The big numbers each quarter come from iPhone, Mac, iPad, then are followed by Services, Apple Stores, Watch et al. The big numbers at Apple are going down.
Going, Going, Gone
IDC and Gartner, those nether region entities which place fictional bets on technology trends (has anyone ever kept track of their prognostications because I don’t see a good track record there?) think Mac sales are falling.
Yes, Mac sales are falling. So are iPad sales. So are iPhone sales, though that might change next year with iPhone 7. Although Apple’s Services group seems to be doing well, all these sales slowdowns mean Apple’s retail stores and online stores probably are not growing, either. And if they’re not growing, and sales for major products are going down, store sales will be going down, too.
We can argue until the cows come home to roost (mixed metaphors are less expensive mid-week) all the reasons why Apple is getting hammered. Here are a few that come to mind.
- General economic malaise in technology
- Mac is neglected
- No dazzling new features in iPhone
- No dazzling new features in iPad
- Apple’s products are too expensive
Choose your poison. Regardless of the perspective, you’re likely to get an argument from someone within or without the Apple community.
There’s also another perspective deserving of consideration. The Mac is a PC, and the general trend among Windows PCs is slowing to dropping sales across the board, thanks to the mobile device revolution. Even Windows touchscreen tablet notebook hybrids have done nothing to stop the obvious.
We live in a mobile device world.
Attached to the hip of that perspective is this one. What goes up, must come down. iPhone sales have been on a tear for years and that kind of growth– unit sales, revenue, and profits– just isn’t sustainable forever. It was a great ride while it lasted, but Apple decided to own, maintain, and lock itself up in the premium end of the product space and there’s just not much growth on that plantation these days.
Also on the list of must-consider items is competition which has improved dramatically in recent years; Windows PCs, Chromebooks, smartphones, tablets. But I have another theory that is quite plausible.
We have too many devices. Those of us who follow Apple are known to have every major product and upgrade to new models frequently. It’s the nature of the Apple watcher. My collection consists of multiple Macs, multiple iPhones, multiple iPads, multiple Apple TVs, and Watch.
I know many in the Apple community who are similarly blessed with Cupertino products, but I’ve also heard– so this is anecdotal science– from friends, co-workers, family members, and others that the upgrades to new models won’t be coming as quickly in the future as in the past.
Even such a subtle change in buying habits can have a dramatic effect on Apple and we’re beginning to see it now. Apple’s historically conservative financial guidance is more conservative than ever and with good reason.
The times they are a changing’.
Maybe Apple is falling behind the trends in technology. Maybe the strategy to own the premium end of the product spectrum– each product– has a defined limitation. Maybe Apple has been too slow to innovate, and too quick to dismiss competitor improvements.
Whatever it is, the times are indeed changing.