Business has never been better. The Apple TV is already a surprise hit, while iPhone announcements moved Apple's stock to as high as $97.80 in January. Their stranglehold on the portable media player market remains strong, brushing off competition from Redmond and China. They have penetrated the living room with their audio and video streaming devices. Note that I have mentioned four Apple products without mentioning a notebook, Mac or a piece of software. The next big thing for Apple could very well be a console game!
"One man can beat ten, so a thousand men can beat ten thousand."
Miyamoto Musashi, a book of five rings, The Fire Scroll
Since Steve Jobs was brought back as CEO, Apple has not being the same (their share price has appreciated 1000 percent in the 12 years), but Apple really moved into the consumer electronics market with their iconic iPod. The iPod then proceeded to run away with the MP3 player market, and the iTunes music store became very important in the scheme of online music distribution, making Apple a major player in the world of digital music downloads (5 million songs a day are downloaded from iTunes).
The iPod began Apple's shift from computers, but little did any one know that more was to come. It seems that Apple's think tanks thought to themselves, "if an iPod can conquer the MP3 market (with its plethora of players from Sandisk to Creative), then a few more products should conquer a few more consumer electronics markets."
A Change of Name
Apple Computer Inc changing its name to Apple Inc is more than a symbolic move; it is actually a total redefinition. With the iPod responsible for almost 50 percent of their sales in 2006, and the iPhone expected to add ten percent to earnings by 2008 (according to the Prudential Equity Group), not to mention what iTunes will add to the bottom line as they start selling more movies and TV shows (the iPod and iTunes accounted for 57 percent of earnings in all), Apple could very well end up becoming a conglomerate along the lines of Sony Electronics Corporation.
Like Steve Jobs commented, the change is intended to reflect the focus of their company. The name change has been recently overshadowed by more "interesting news," including the release of the iPhone and its following (recently resolved) controversy, and even by Apple's less than expected earnings in the quarterly report (a reduction which had a ripple effect on all tech stocks). Where is Apple going with their current line of products? What kind of upgrades and products do we expect Apple fans to be lining up for in the next few years? Will Apple dominate cell phones? And then again, is Apple only as good as the genius of Steve Jobs, the man who turned it all around and has made Apple the darling of Wall street? Does Apple fear the beginning of new product development for other companies (such as Sony, Creative and Microsoft)?
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