Sunday Slant: Once a top innovator, Apple might be on the decline

Apple’s lack of innovation might signal the beginning of its demise Photo: Apple

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2013 — Apple’s iPhone 5 was launched last September amid great fanfare and succeeded the iPhone 4S as the standard bearer among mobile handsets.

How quickly things have changed.

Although it is still considered the comparative standard bearer, and the phone to beat; the iPhone 5 has fallen from its lofty position, and the Galaxy S4, Samsung’s new flagship smartphone, seems poised to conquer the mobile market.

Other Apple products are also threatened. Apple’s perennial best seller, the iPad, a tablet that was once so popular that the word “iPad” itself almost became synonymous with the word “tablet”, has as of late lost its edge. Usurped by the more innovative and computer-like Surface line of tablets from Microsoft, and sales of Apple’s own iPad Mini, the clout of Apple’s perennial powerhouse, has been significantly diminished.

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, a highly regarded analyst at KGI Securities, when Q2 numbers are released, Apple, for the first time ever, might be looking at a year-over-year decline in iPad shipments. Kuo thinks that from Q1 to Q2 of 2013, iPad shipments will decrease around 20-25%. This would mean a 10-15% decrease, compared to last year’s shipments from the same period.

Last year, Samsung sold more smartphones than any company in the world; and in April, in its effort to continue its dominance of the world smartphone market, the company introduced the galaxy S4 to replace its highly regarded Galaxy S3, which, in Q3 2012, out-sold the iPhone 4S.

However, instead of replying to Samsung’s challenge by introducing a new and more innovative product to the marketplace, Apple has asked a federal judge to add Samsung’s new flagship smartphone to the list of devices targeted in an existing patent lawsuit involving its personal assistant software, Siri.

That Apple, in lieu of innovation, has turned to litigation, should come as no surprise. The Cupertino Company has not offered anything more than what have essentially amounted to updates to its core mobile products, in several years.

Although many might think it improbable for a company like Apple to fail, it has had many predecessors. Montgomery Ward, Eastman Kodak, and arguably, Dell Computer, are all examples of companies that once were dominant in their fields and are now no more than shells of what they once were.

But the demise of a large company is subtle. It is only towards the end that the cracks in its façade and the creaking and buckling of its columns become noticeable. Although it would be frivolous at this point to count Apple out, upon close inspection, the cracks are beginning to show.

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Derek Crockett

Derek Crockett is a retired Engineering Technician with a love for technology, and industry experience ranging from the production of printed wire boards to the manufacture of semi-conductor production tools. Derek is a resident of Copperas Cove, Texas, and has worked for many of the world’s leading technology companies such as Solectron, Samsung, AMD, and Applied Materials. He now writes technology related news articles and reviews at tekknotes.com

 

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