On the tech planet, Apple keynotes are the closest thing to a hair-raising rock concert. The public hopes with beating hearts the “One More Thing”, the ultimate stunning novelty. And in the weeks that followed, fans laid siege to the Apple Stores. The apple brand, however, struggles to find the “Wow effect” that a Steve Job aroused when he presented the iPod, iPhone, iPad or unsealed, in perfect showmanan ordinary envelope actually containing the ultrathin MacBook Air.
Four iPhone 14, three Apple Watch (including a new Ultra version) and the latest AirPods Pro… the new models unveiled by Apple on September 7, 2022 have attractive features, but more or less correspond to what observers expected from the firm. And Apple’s mysterious “mixed reality” headset that is heating up the spirits will probably not be presented until next year. If Cupertino is making fewer waves, it is moving forward as a steamroller. In 2021, it concentrated 44% of revenues from smartphone sales worldwide. And more than 50% of Americans now use an iPhone, Counterpoint Research reveals in the FT.
The “dissident” joined the establishment
This inexorable expansion is the result of a carefully considered strategy. “Apple has built a closed ecosystem where it controls everything: hardware, software and applications”, points out Pierre Harand, partner of the fifty-five consulting firm. This certainly puts off a fraction of consumers attached to a certain idea of an open Internet, but overall, it works like thunder for Apple, each novelty of which is as much an argument to enter its galaxy as a reason not to out (Apple Watch doesn’t work without iPhone, etc.). And Apple’s diversification into services (music subscription, video, games, etc.) is showing promising results. “25% of its turnover now comes from there”, points out Jean-Christophe Liaubet, partner EY Fabernovel.
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The turn taken by Apple with connected watches is perhaps the most clever, however. The firm has forced its product to pass the demanding validation process of the American Medicines Agency (the FDA has validated its detection of atrial fibrillation, a specific form of cardiac arrhythmia). In doing so, the Apple is laying solid groundwork in connected health, a market with great potential. “In the decades to come, Apple Health could prove to be more profitable than the iPhone”, predicts Neil Mawston, executive director of the firm Strategy Analytics.
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Apple’s challenges today are to keep its development in China on track, to conquer the strategic Indian market and not to alienate regulators, particularly in the US and Europe. Apple clings to its tech rebel t-shirt, posture on which it was built, with the slogan “Think different”. But that posture has worked so well that he is now an establishment stalwart with the largest market capitalization. At these heights, abuse of dominant position is the accusation to be avoided at all costs. The ransom of success.
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