The World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) has been the usual significant event in the Apple calendar, with iOS 10 getting a particularly large upgrade from the corporation this time out. In what is a challenging climate for the market leading consumer electronics company, Apple responded by producing a wide range of software surprises and innovations at WWDC, indicating its determination to excite consumers once more over the next 12 months.
But although software is always extremely important to Apple, and the corporation has made its name via its unique combination of proprietary software and hardware, the attention of the company will now once more turn to physical devices. Apple has had numerous successes in the consumer electronics marketplace over the last decade or so, and the coming months will see the California-based company both attempt to consolidate one of its key products while working on new successes as well.
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First first things first for Apple will be the release of the iPhone 7, with analysts generally expecting that Apple will follow the schedule from the iPhone 6S last year. This would mean that the iPhone 7 will emerge in September, and the device will once again be a critical indication of Apple’s immediate future.
The iPhone remains by far the most important device for Apple, with figures indicating that it is still responsible for approximately two-thirds of the overall revenue of the company. Apple certainly needs to diversify its revenue streams in the coming years, but for the time being the iPhone is a central pillar in its overall strategy.
Nonetheless, Apple has already predicted that the iPhone 7 will shift less units than previous smartphone releases, with strategists at the company indicating that Apple iPhone year-on-year sales will diminish. This would be the first time this has occurred since the first iPhone was released in 2007, and would undoubtedly be met with opprobrium from the city and investors.
Apple can help lessen the impact of any negative response to the iPhone 7 by producing a particularly outstanding release. However, it is already suggested that the iPhone 7 will be a fairly conservative handset, so Apple must balance its commercial considerations with the desires of consumers.
Another big product coming in the foreseeable future from Apple is the Apple Car. This electric vehicle was rumored at least two years ago, with murmurings that Apple was considering developing an electric car rife in the media ever since. Apple has, of course, confirmed absolutely nothing, but the idea of an electric vehicle is clearly being at least considered strongly at the company, as we know know that Apple is intending to test such a product.
Apple has always strongly pushed its green credentials, and thus the notion of an electric car fits perfectly into the ethos and branding of the company. Manufacturing and releasing a roadworthy electric vehicle would also fit into the impression that Apple is an innovator, something that has been rather too thin on the ground over the last couple of years.
Indeed, although the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, has been successful in growing the revenue and market capitalization of the company – at least until recently – he has also been criticized for a rather conservative approach towards the overall Apple ethos. Cook has seemingly being satisfied to follow a Reaganite / Thatcherite policy of piling predictable device releases high, and selling them cheap (although some would argue that Apple products are not as cheap as one might expect!).
If Cook is to leave behind an enduring legacy at the consumer electronics giant, then the production of an Apple Car could go a long way to achieving this exalted goal. The product also makes obvious sense for Apple in terms of its relationship with other industries which Apple would like to pursue.
Apple is already significantly invested in the sort of sophisticated in-car systems which are now becoming ubiquitous. And Apple has already reportedly being in conversations with Tesla over some form of electric battery hook up between the two companies. Whether anything will come to fruition in this department remains to be seen, but it looks increasingly clear that Apple’s long-term strategy includes electric motor vehicles
Apple Watch 2
Finally, the Apple Watch will be a critical product for Apple, as it continues its attempt to diversify its product range. Apple promised the city back in 2014 that it would make attempts to generate new revenue streams, and has released new products with this aim in mind.
The original Apple Watch was one such device release, Yet its performance has been rather underwhelming thus far. There have been numerous criticisms of the first smartwatch from Apple, not least that consumers can’t establish exactly what its purpose is; a pretty damning indictment! Far from being a killer piece of kit, several people who bought and wore the Apple Watch in its first generation have ultimately reported that it delivers very little in terms of functionality.
Furthermore, the original Apple Watch was subjected to slights for being too reliant on the iPhone for numerous features. Apple has reportedly already addressed this by ensuring that the Apple Watch 2 will feature full Wi-Fi functionality, which would open up the second generation smartwatch to a wide range of new features.
Apple is also reportedly looking to plug the gap between some of the more affordable Apple Watch variants and the $10,000 Apple Watch addition range. Thus, reports have indicated that there will be a luxury Apple Watch model launched at around the $4,000 price point when the Apple Watch 2 hits the stores, with Apple looking to compete with entry-level units from the likes of Rolex and Omega.
If the Apple Watch 2 is to be a success, Apple must deliver this and more besides, and thus several aspects of hardware have been linked with the Apple Watch 2, including a FaceTime camera.