On paper, Apple looks strong: This week, it beat Wall Street estimates, reporting $43.6 billion in revenue, compared to $39.2 billion at the same time last year. But in reality, Apple might not be quite as dominant as the numbers make it seem.
On the earnings call this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked what offerings Apple plans on releasing this year — a question Apple execs typically provide a coy response to. Instead of dodging the question, Cook responded that the company has “software and services we can’t wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014.” The troubling part of that statement isn’t what he did say, it’s what he didn’t: there were no mentions of new hardware releases.
This is troubling because competitors like Samsung and HTC are releasing new products, and Apple, if it does not do the same, may lose business. Consumers with contract upgrades may ditch plans to hold out for the iPhone 5S and instead buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the HTC One, two amazing new Android smartphones.
Of course, Cook’s omission of hardware from his statement doesn’t mean that a hardware announcement won’t come — in past years, Apple has announced the iPhone at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference, which this year starts on June 10 — but it doesn’t look good. In addition to Cook neglecting to mention hardware, there’s also this: Last year, Apple unveiled its new iPad in the spring, but this year the company has yet to send out invites to an iPad press conference.
Even if Apple doesn’t release new hardware soon, it certainly isn’t doomed, as it will likely announce other exciting developments at the conference. I, for one, am expecting them to unveil iOS 7 — the next version of the mobile operating system that powers the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod touch. If iOS 7 offers a ton of new features, it’s possible that consumers will hold out to see what the iPhone 5S and future iPads will offer. Plus, it’s likely that Apple will discuss the next iteration of OS X, the operating system that powers its Mac computers.
That said, a lack of new hardware in the fast-changing world of technology won’t be good for Apple. While software is important, we’re not at the point that software updates nullify the public’s desire for new iPhones, iPads or other hardware. Plus, if iOS 7 proves underwhelming, Apple’s competitors may gain even more market share.