Apple challenged to show iPhone star shines – Tech News

Some analysts say Apple needs to think beyond the smartphone if it is looking to secure its future. — Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO: With the Apple set to report the quarterly results on Feb. 1, investors and others are cautiously watching to see whether its newest iPhone will help fuel momentum for the world's most valuable company.

Despite Apple's spectacular trajectory in the decade, the introduction of the iPhone, the California technology, the titan is facing challenges on whether it can continue growth.

Apple's image of the time has changed from mobile.

Apple X has been far less than expected.

The iPhone is the 10th anniversary of the iconic handset – introduced last year.

iPhone is a laggard, while others say Apple has delivered on its promise with a fuller range of handsets.

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech data released on Tuesday showing that Apple's flagship is the best selling device in Europe, Australia, Japan, “urban China,” and the US.

“The iPhone has been a sound one,” said KWC global director Dominic Sunnebo .

“Given that in December iPhone X made it into the top three best-selling devices across all key regions, particularly in urban”

Post-smartphone world?

Some analysts say if it is looking to secure its future.

“We're at the forefront of the matter of the smartphone market maturation, and quite possibly, the end of smartphone market growth,” said chief analyst Bob O'Donnell of Technalysis Research.

And, while smartphones remain popular, voice-commanded machines, wearable computing, augmented-reality glasses and other innovations could make handsets seem like 'old technology' in the not too distant future, the analyst reasoned

“Challenges for the iPhone X and other high-end smartphones go well beyond just the appearance (or not) of a replacement 'super cycle,' “O'Donnell said in a blog post.

Smartphone upgrade rates are at low level and do not appear to be rebound in the current quarter, according to BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk.

“The sustained lengthening of the replacement cycle.” Piecyk said in a note.

Dipping into cash hoard

Apple is in a unique position following a major tax overhaul which has prompted the company to reveal plans to bring back most of its US $ 269bil (RM1.04tril) in profits held overseas, to buy dividends, buy back shares, invest in research, or make acquisitions.

Rumors being floated included the notion that Apple might want to buy streaming television giant Netflix to beef content in its services business.

Netflix's value based on its share price is more than the US $ 88bil (RM343.38bil), an amount of cash Apple can afford given its overseas cash, according to Swarup Gupta of Zacks Investment Research.

“Such a buyout would also add to Apple's services muscle,” Gupta said.

While there appear to be bugs to Apple share price this year, there also to appear in the array of opportunities, according to Gupta.

Apple has touted the growth of its services, revenue from which rose 34% last year to almost US $ 8.5bil (RM33.16bil), according to Zacks.

HomePod speakers infused with Siri virtual assistant software. HomePod will make a belated debut this year, taking on Amazon Echo and Google Home devices.

Gupta noted that the controversy over slowing of older iPhones “has dented the reputation” of the brand.

“But given the nature of Apple's fan, the following, it could easily be forgotten in the months to come unless further major slip up happens on the company's part,” he said. – AFP

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