The catch-all Services category is #2 and growing faster than iPhone, Mac, and iPad combined. Apple is a hardware company but hasn’t had any new hardware since Steve Jobs died. Wait. What? That’s wrong, right? Isn’t Apple Watch new?
Yes, Watch is Apple’s latest hit product. Thanks to the requirement to be compared to iPhone, Apple has refused to state how many Apple Watches have been sold to date, or during any particular quarter. In fact, Apple will no longer provide sales numbers for iPhone, Mac, or iPad. Those days are gone.
The problem with calling Watch the latest hit product is that it does not compare favorably to iPhone, Mac, or iPad, which make up the bulk of Apple’s 1-billion or so customer base. Apple is a hardware company and the rapidly growing Services group does not change the obvious. Without hardware, what happens to Services? At some point it will stop growing; just like iPhone, Mac, and iPad.
Apple CEO compares favorably to co-founder Steve Jobs in one area. Profits. Otherwise, Jobs launched one revolutionary product after another, while Cook counts the profits. What products have launched under Cook’s reign?
Tim Cook is The Accessories King.
Don’t get me wrong. Accessories are good for Apple and I would prefer the company have even more accessories than can be found in an Apple Store now. An Apple-branded external 5K Retina display for Mac mini or Mac notebooks is a good example. Cook’s list of Apple accessories is long and growing.
- Beats Headphones – Apple bought beats for the brand, the headphone line as iPhone, iPad, and Mac accessories, and music prowess from Beats Music
- Apple Music – this accessory product was not home-grown at Apple, but an enhanced and re-branded Beats Music product
- Apple Pay – one of my favorite add-ons is an elegant and secure way to buy products at retail or online; an accessory to iPhone, Mac, and iPad.
- Apple Watch – yes, you can call Watch a new product, but total sales do not put it into the same class as iPhone, Mac, or Watch– sales units, revenue, or profits– and, since you need an iPhone to set up and use Watch, it becomes little more than an expensive accessory for iPhone.
- AirPods – my favorite pair of earbuds have revolutionized the premium end of the wireless earbuds spectrum and remain unchanged since they launched two years ago. Recent discounts indicate a new model might be on the way, yet AirPods are what they are– an accessory to iPhone, Mac, and iPad.
CEO Tim Cook and Apple’s executives seem averse to new standalone products. Yes, every year the iPhone gets updated; much like clockwork. Yet, it took public and customer outcry over the past few years to get Apple to improve the much neglected Mac line,. After eight years since the original launch, iOS for iPad remains an anemic counterpart to macOS.
Tim Cook needs a real hit product instead of a handful of new accessories for the current product line. No executive does a better job than Cook at extracting profits from The House That Jobs Built, but even Microsoft is worth more than Apple these days, so maybe investors realize that a house of cards built with accessories just won’t cut it when competition has improved and often surpassed Apple in recent years.