Apple Faces 10 Threats to Future Growth, Prosperity

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-04-01 Print this article Print

5. What will replace the iPod?

The iPod is becoming a bit of a concern in Cupertino. Apple is watching the iPhone cannibalize iPod sales, and its percentage contribution to Apple's revenue is sliding each quarter. Still, the iPod is generating billions of dollars in revenue every quarter. And unless Apple finds a way to replace the iPod, it might have an increasingly difficult time hitting Wall Street's targets.

6. Has Apple forgotten the Pro user?

Pro users might feel like they have been left behind by Apple. As the company consistently updates its iPads and iPhones and MacBook Pros, it's forgotten all about the Mac Pro. That computer hasn't been discontinued yet, but if another year passes with no major upgrade, Apple's loyal Pro users—arguably its best evangelists—might decide to go elsewhere. And that's bad news for Apple.

7. The stock price is plummeting

Apple's stock price is near its lowest point in the last year, trading as of this writing at $429.16. Over the last 52-week period, Apple's shares had at one time hit a high of $705.07. So, what's going on? Shareholders are reportedly concerned with Apple's cash management, and they don't believe that it can continue to post such huge profits. It's a problem. And as a public company, it should matter greatly to Apple.

8. The innovation decline

Looking at Apple's products, it's hard to find the huge level of innovation that separates it from competitors. The iPhone 5, for example, is a nice product. But to believe that it's heads and shoulders above all other devices in terms of design is a fallacy. The same can be said for Apple's line of MacBook Pros and the MacBook Air. Innovation appears to be taking a backseat to business sense at Apple.

9. Apple's worldwide warranty problems

Apple has been hit with lawsuits in several countries around the world—most notably, Italy – over its AppleCare and warranty policies. Most recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized to the country over the company's warranty policies. All of that hurts Apple's standing in the marketplace and can turn some customers to other products.

10. Tim Cook's lack of charisma

Charisma was part of the reason Apple was so successful in the first part of this century. Steve Jobs would take the stage, the crowd would go silent and everyone would wait to hear what he would say. It was a spectacle. And it was just as effective at marketing his company's products as the millions it spends now on advertisements. Tim Cook, on other hand, lacks the charisma of his predecessor. Unfortunately, the excitement surrounding Apple events hasn't reached the level it once did. That's something Apple must address in the coming years, or face the prospect of declining to a mature, slow-growing corporation whose best years are behind it.

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