Has Apple peaked? Yes and no. I think the company is still struggling somewhat to find its path following the death of Steve Jobs. But there’s still plenty happening and room for growth in Cupertino. So let’s start a discussion about what’s really going on there. I thought this might be possible in a single column, but looking down I see that’s impossible, so expect a second forward-looking Apple column tomorrow.
The catalyst for this particular column is word coming over the weekend from the Wall $treet Journal that Apple is cutting back component orders for the iPhone 5 signaling lower sales than expected. I’m not saying this story is wrong but I don’t completely buy it for a couple reasons.
It’s from a single unidentified source, which I always find suspect, and the publication makes the interpretation that the order changes are because of slow iPhone sales. How would they know?
“Wait,” you protest, “there are now lots of stories in many publications with lots of experts quoted.”
So, the speculation is that Cook was in China signing a huge deal with the largest Chinese phone company. And that China is two things: proud and cheap. They want special treatment but at a low price.
Thus the iPhone mini. In addition to the iPhone 5, CHina gets a special form factor found nowhere else in the world – a smaller, less expensive phone that uses internal parts whos eprice allows Apple to still make quite a bit of profit. It may not have all the power of the full version but will essentially be a 4S and work quite well.
Then as time goes on, the exclusiveness of this form factor will be lessened and it will eventually replace the low end iPhone.
Not a bad idea. Make a big bang in China. Give the big phone company exclusive rights to a special phone that is cost effective for the Chinese. Much like ATT got exclusivity to the original iPhone.
This could be a big deal and explain why we are seeing rumors of a low cost iPhone.