Apple takes a tumble in sales, innovation abounds

William Royal, Op/ed editor

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Apple had a tumultuous sales year in 2016. How can they recover?

As the fiscal year of 2017 kicks off in a rather uneventful manner for Apple, the tech giant based out of Palo Alto, California remains mired in a sales decline that has been their reality since October.

This annual sales decline is the first for Apple since 2001, casting a grim shadow over further growth and competition with its competitors like Samsung.

This decline in sales is mostly attributed to falling sales of the iPhone, which is Apple’s largest annual source of revenue.

In September, Apple sold 45.5 million phones, down from the 48 million attained in the prior year’s sales quarter.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, presents a confident view of the massively successful franchise.

“We had a record-setting growth for Services,” Cook said in an earnings call with analysts. “Music revenue grew by 22 percent thanks to the growing popularity of Apple Music.”

Apple’s streaming service, Apple Music, was introduced last year to a market where rival service Spotify held all of the capital.

With a major competitor, the two services seemingly began a price war, lowering the monthly fees to compete with each other. Apple placed a lot of confidence in the superiority of its specific brand.

Take all of this at face value, and you might just see a wildly innovative company that is struggling to stay relevant with the new tech they implement.

However, Apple’s new Watch and Watch 2 were released as well, setting no records for the smartwatch game.

Again, the existence of several other smartwatch options like Fitbit, Samsung’s Gear, and independent makers may have proved an adversity, as the Watch set no records in sales when it and its second iteration were released.

The decline of Apple’s most well-known product, the Macbook, is also something to consider in analyzing how this decline in sales occurred. Released in October 2016, the new Macbook Pro, after having received zero updates to the hardware in over three years, was perhaps too innovative.

The new laptop sported a nice Touchbar, but only five ports on the whole device, leading many to speculate why Apple was pushing this on the market.

Keep in mind that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus also have only one port- a Lightning Charging port.

Competition in China also remains a major point of contention with Apple’s senior management as their sales fell in the region by 30 percent.

Rival manufacturers of smartphones like Xiaomi and Huawei clip their sales in many instances, leaving an anxious Tim Cook trying to make sense of Apple’s strategy.

“We are very bullish on China,” Cook said on the analyst call, showing the vast number of “people growing into the middle class.”

After possibly scaring away many a tried an true customer with bold moves to its product line, Apple faces a decision: Either keep with the times and innovate or resettle its marketing to win back more sales.

At a point for clarity, and after having a tumultuous year, Apple’s commitment remains an issue for its largest revenue source: new and repeat phone buyers.

With tech products like the Macbook and Watch serving specialty demands, their chief area is the iPhone.

The iPhone soared above the competition in 2007, but 10 years later, the competition has placed more and more pressure on the tech giant.

Apple’s ascension to new heights in the technology market of Silicon Valley occurred as a result of measured, calculated maneuvers through a successful run of new devices.



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