Why has Apple stopped growing?

Excellent analysis of Apple’s quarterly earnings announced today. The article is full of good nuggets and statistics, but the money quote is IMHO this:

the world presently has just about as much Apple as it can take

The only addition I would make to this is that I am pretty excited about this situation, because I think this will force Apple to become really creative and come up with some exciting new gadget category (but sorry Julien, I don’t think “wearables” are that category).

However, I would like to underline that the two previous great waves of consumer technology had entirely different natures: in the PC wave, the replacement cycle was forced by Microsoft which released a new version of Windows every couple of years, spurring new waves of applications and demanding vastly more resources than its predecessor, rendering instantly obsolete the installed base every couple of years.

True, not everybody fell for it, but enough people did to ensure that the PC market kept growing for 20-odd years.

In the smartphone wave, the replacement cycle is dictated by the normal wear and tear of a device that’s constantly in and out of pockets, gets bumped, scratched, dented, lost & stolen orders of magnitude more often; plus carriers have put us all on drugs with absurd subsidies; this will continue for as long as this situation stays the same, so growth in the smartphone market may continue far longer than in PCs.

And tablets? Well, exactly one year ago I had pronounced the category dead, I believe with some reason: the use cases simply failed to materialize, and what we are left is a second screen that frankly is not as universally portable as a smartphone, nor competent as a PC.

 

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