Could it be the end for Apple, or an opportunity to change for the better?Anna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Thursday evening, Apple investors were in for somewhat of a surprise when they found out that Apple’s shares, which have been bouncing up and down since September, may be heading towards the start of Apple’s (possible) decline. September was a good month for Apple, with shares reaching $705.07, but the shares then dipped by more than 25% last month. The numbers have risen slightly since then, but that didn’t stop analysts from estimating that the number will decrease again going into the New Year.
Steve Millunovich, UBS analyst, corrected his estimates for the fiscal 2013 and 2014 years on Thursday evening. He had an original target of $780 per share for Apple, but changed the estimate to $700 last night. He also cut down his iPhone and iPad sales estimates. His iPhone estimates were cut by 5 million units, and his iPad estimates by 2 million. That’s a pretty steep cut in numbers, and if they turn out to be true, it might serve as a swift kick in the gut for Apple to perhaps start making some changes for the better.
Although iPad and iPhone sales are expected to decrease, the biggest possible issue that could arise, according to Millunovich, is “Some of our Chinese sources do not expect the iPhone 5 to do as well as the iPhone 4S.” I can see where they’re coming from with that statement, and to be honest I wouldn’t be surprised.
I have always seen the iPhone 5 as a glorified and taller iPhone 4S. Not much changed from one device to the next; basically the same features are offered (give or take a few) such as LTE or a larger display, which I willingly gave up in order to get the iPhone 4S. Those features aren’t anything new, and they were introduced a little too late for me. If LTE or a larger display was something that I desperately wanted in a device, I would have gotten a device with LTE or a larger display as it wasn’t a rarity to find a phone with such features at the time of the iPhone 4S’s release. For me, there is no rush to upgrade to a phone like the iPhone 5. Perhaps many consumers are feeling the same way.
Not only that, but maybe consumers are taking advantage of what the iPhone 5 has done for the iPhone 4S in terms of convenience and price. When the iPhone 4S was released many people would purchase the iPhone 4 due to the $100 price difference. It comes to me as no surprise that they would do the same for the iPhone 4S. After all, just because the device is dated doesn’t mean it’s not a perfectly functional device. It gets me through my day, dual-core processor and all. If I was faced with the choice today to purchase an iPhone 4S for $99 or an iPhone 5 for $199, I would choose the iPhone 4S because I feel that you get more for your money there.
We also have to realize that the people who have been purchasing iPhones for a few generations now probably have a ton of accessories that are tailored for the infamous (albeit somewhat inconvenient) 30-pin connector that Apple used for its products. I think that was one of the biggest mistakes Apple could have done. They didn’t switch to a universal cable like a micro USB. No, that would be too convenient. They want to come out with a new 19-pin connector. Although it may have seemed like a clever marketing scheme at one point it time, I’m wondering if that might have been what killed it for a lot of people. I could stand here and talk all day about how Apple’s newest product hasn’t changed much since the last one, but it’s been like that for a few years now and that never stopped anybody. So it’s either people are finally growing tired of the same-old, or they simply don’t feel like replacing all those really neat accessories they purchased just for their devices that use the 30-pin; maybe it’s both.
I don’t think Apple will fall from this, should these predictions be the case. I think if it does happen they’ll start to seriously reconsider their strategy. They still have an extensive following, give or take some dwindling numbers, and they have the resources. They just have to stop being so stubborn about change.
What do you think will come of these estimates? Do you think the predictions are accurate, or do you think Apple is doing better than we might think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!