Apple “Steady as she goes” in the Year(s) Ahead

By Bob Raikes
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We have a shorter issue this week as the Western world winds down towards the holiday. European business will be closed from today until the opening of CES on January 4th, although the Display Daily team will still be publishing (although not on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day). We’ll also be doing some infrastructure updates to our internal network – we have been getting parcels of server components along with the online holiday purchases.

In wracking my brain to try to come up with a topic this week, I looked back at the topics that I have covered. One jumped out at me in the light of the recent story about further delays and a suspension of Apple’s rumoured TV streaming service. (Apple Hits More TV Service Delays). Back in the summer, I wrote an editorial (Apple Gives up TV Ambitions – Probably…) that highlighted that without delivering access to content, especially live sports, an Apple TV/service, was unlikely to happen or be successful. Now it looks as though Apple has given up its attempts to get into the TV content business (although some commentators still think that Apple will overcome that hurdle).

We try hard not to be totally dominated by news and opinion on Apple, but the success of the company and its power in the market is so huge that we can’t avoid covering it very heavily (with eight Display Daily articles this year). In 2015, we have talked about “what Apple does next” and Ken Werner wrote that he didn’t think that there is a “next big thing” for Apple. What will Apple Do Next?. I disagreed, and said that I see the company moving further into payments/financial services and automotive, based on the sheer size, in $$ terms, of those markets. (Apple & Money).

Nobody in the team disagreed that Apple is dominating the smartwatch segment, but, at the moment, that really doesn’t look as though it is going to grow into a vast industry as smartphones and tablets have.

This is Apple’s official bio picture of “Captain Sensible” Cook. I love that the file on the Apple website is called cook_hero.png! Source:AppleSo, it’s hard to see how Apple really moves its consumer electronics business forward, other than in the incremental way that it has done in 2015 (and it has done that pretty well). Guest Display Daily writer, Karl Guttag, pointed out in his article this week that the AR/VR display market will find it hard to fight the physics of the hardware and we have an article in production for next week about the market numbers for AR/VR, from another guest. Those arguments suggest to me that Apple won’t be able to transform that nascent market (although I’d love to be wrong!). (VR and AR Head Mounted Displays – Sorry, but there is no Santa Claus)

Now, there are those that see Apple reflecting the strengths of Tim Cook, in execution and supply chain management. Apple is reported to have developed its enterprise business to $25 billion and is making further strides there with the iPad Pro and making more and more inroads into corporate IT. So, it looks as though the Apple of the future will not be the Apple of dramatic innovation, now that its genius of CE innovation is gone. It’s a shame, but it’s probably sensible to exploit the strengths of the CEO that it has, rather than trying to imitate the inimitable*.

I hope you have a good holiday!

Bob

* Maybe the board of Manchester United could take lessons in succession planning following strong, charismatic leaders 😉