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Could 12 September Announcements Mark a Turning Point for Apple?

Everyone who hasn’t been hiding under a rock or living on Mars knows that today is the day Apple Inc release details of their new iPhone 5.  I’ve used the iPhone since version 3, having had the 3GS, 4 & 4S, all of which have been great pieces of technology and invaluable for me during my working day.  In fact, over the last 4 years, I’ve moved away from traditional desktops, laptops and PCs and feel like I’m personally funding Apples $650+ share price.  My children want iPads from my next trip to the US (and would have had them in Singapore if the right models were available).  Everyone loves Apple, even Mrs E, who has inherited my original MacBook.

So, what’s my problem?  Well, I have a feeling that the long-awaited iPhone 5 won’t represent the quantum leap in technology we all expect.  So far, the rumour mill indicates a bigger screen, perhaps 4G support and faster processing.  It doesn’t point to longer battery life or anything radical or even slightly creative such as near field charging.  Now incremental innovations would be fine in subsequent releases if it wasn’t for two things; (a) the competition is getting good – even Microsoft/Nokia has a phone that’s worthy of investigation (b) Apple are supposed to be the innovator and market leader in cool technology.

In recent years we’ve had the iPod Touch, iPhone & iPad – a stream of consumer devices that have created new categories – who was really interested in tablets until Apple released one?  The $64,000 question is – what’s the next platform?  Apple can’t sustain their current share price (which incidentally has doubled in 12 months to $660) or expect to see it rise unless there’s some serious innovation due.  By that I mean brand new products or features, not things like a mini-Ipad (which none of us need).

Earlier this year I read Steve Job’s biography.  My conclusion was the guy was a bit of an arse.  But what he did know was how to challenge the boundaries (not always successfully) and by doing that made Apple an innovator.  I really hope we see something new today.  If not, we’re going to see this day as Apple’s zenith and decline towards the becoming another Microsoft.

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