Doom and gloom has reached new heights ever since Apple reported its earnings last week for the March quarter. There's always a soft and steady hum of Apple doomsday prepping, but sharply declining iPhone sales turned that hum into full-blown chorus. Peak Apple has come and gone! No one wants iPhones anymore! Apple can't survive without Steve Jobs!
The "peak Apple" claim is made by many each and every time Apple reports earnings, good or bad. Seriously -- every single time. Even when Apple reported killer holiday quarter in 2014 and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, record-breaking quarter back in January.
Following Apple's March quarter this year, however, things looked particularly bleak. Though for anyone paying attention, the writing was already on the wall:
It was beyond obvious that Apple would not be able to maintain its momentum in the 2015-2016 iPhone cycle. Pent-up demand for iPhones with larger displays sent sales soaring following the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014, and an "S" update could never keep pace. In fact, rumor has it that Apple might completely change its iPhone strategy in light of its current iPhone sales trajectory. Instead of launching an iPhone 7/7 Plus combo this year and "S" upgrades next year, we may see a fresh new iPhone with an AMOLED display and other new features in 2017.
Will the iPhone 7 turn things around for Apple? It's difficult to say. Competition is tougher than ever at the high end of the smartphone market -- seriously, Samsung's latest flagship phone is amazing -- and a number of studies suggest people are upgrading less frequently. Apple CEO Tim Cook teased new features that users won't be able to live without in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus though, so this year's iPhones might end up surprising us.
But let's forget about 2016 for a moment... Apple's future is shaping up to be more exciting than you can even imagine.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will surely be nice upgrades, but there are hints out there at new technologies Apple is developing that will add fantastic new features to future iPhones, as well as other new Apple products. (And of course, let's not forget that Apple might currently be working on the biggest game-charger the smartphone market has seen since the original iPhone was released almost a decade ago.)
Back in April following Apple's earnings report, CEO Tim Cook was somber on the company's earnings call. His comments were exactly what we expected for the most part, but he did slip in a few interesting notes. Chief among them, perhaps, was a quick reminder that Apple has big things in the pipeline.
"We've made 15 acquisitions in the last four quarters to accelerate our product and services roadmaps, and we're always on the lookout for companies with great technology, talent, and strategic fit," Cook said during the call. In light of that comment, now is a great time for a refresher covering all the exciting companies that Apple has purchased over the past year or so.
We covered a bunch of them in an earlier post, but let's look at all of Apple's known acquisitions since the beginning of 2015:
- Camel Audio: Software company that makes digital synthesizers and audio effects processors
- Emollient: Artificial-intelligence startup with software that can read emotions from facial expressions
- Faceshift: Swiss motion capture company that worked on Star Wars
- Flyby Media: Augmented-reality startup that can identify objects in the real world
- FoundationDB: Company that specializes in database tech for web apps
- LearnSprout: Makes software that allows teachers to track student performance
- LegbaCore: Software security company that specializes in firmware
- LinX Imaging: Israel-based startup that makes multi-aperture cameras
- Coherent Navigation: Ultra-precise GPS navigation company
- Metaio: German augmented-reality company
- Mapsense: Makes software tools for visualizing location data on maps
- Perceptio: Deep learning startup developing advanced artificial intelligence software
- Semetric: Music analytics software solutions provider
- VocalIQ: Deep learning startup that helps computers understand and generate natural speech
At least three to four additional Apple acquisitions from the past year still remain a mystery.
Now, a few of those buys obviously bolster existing products, but there are several companies on that list that point to some seriously exciting things coming down the road from Apple. It might not be a bad idea to keep them in mind the next time you're reading an article about how Apple stopped innovating and why the company is doomed.