Why Apple may never have another product as successful as the iPhone

“Apple Inc. is dependent on the iPhone for more than half of its revenue,” Quentin Fottrell writes for MarketWatch. “But despite a hunger for the next big thing among consumers and investors, don’t expect another blockbuster anytime soon.”

“The Cupertino, Calif.-based company reported third-quarter revenue of $37.4 billion – 53% of which was attributed to iPhone sales alone. On the upside, sales of the iPhone grew 9% to $19.7 billion,” Fottrell reports. “On the downside, no other product comes close to generating those kinds of figures. iPad sales hit $5.9 billion in the latest quarter (accounting for 16% of sales), iMac sales were $5.5 billion (15% of sales), iPod sales were $442 million (just 1% of sales). The rest was accounted for by iTunes (12% of sales), plus accessories and services. ‘We doubt Apple will have another $90 billion-plus product any time soon,’ says Brian Colello, analyst at research firm Morningstar. For better or for worse, the iPhone will be the firm’s core business for quite some time, he says. ‘A communication device is simply more important than other types of consumer products – iPod for music in the past and iWatch for fitness in the future. Phones are typically one or more per person instead of one or more per family like PCs and tablets.’ People own more phones than any other gadget, he adds.”

“Neil Mawston, analyst at Strategy Analytics, says, ‘The days of truly revolutionary innovation may be over for Apple,'” Fottrell reports. “‘Apple today is monitored and copied too closely by the computing and media industries to produce surprise products,’ he adds.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Just getting certain quotes on the record, so that we can refer to them in the future.


  1. Yup, this thought has been around awhile. “Everything’s up-to-date in Kansas City (and Apple), they’ve gone about as fur as they can go.” I think the Mac Pro has already demonstrated Apple retains the ability to produce surprise products.

      1. One of the gals was fat and pink and pretty,
        As round above as she was round below.
        I could swear that she was padded from her shoulder to her heel,
        But then she started dancin’ and her dancin’ made me feel
        That ev’ry single thing she had was absolutely real

        She went about as fur as she could go,
        (Yes sir!)
        She went about as fur as she could go!

  2. Stupid story. Tim said as recently as yesterday that he couldn’t wait to show us the great new products in the pipeline. And, people will never quit buying new iPhones because every single new one is just amazing – no others like it anywhere. And, nobody needs real computers anymore. What was this guy thinking?

    1. He’s a short-sighted fool who can’t see further than his nose. He’s probably never read a science fiction book in his life. Does he think technology is at its peak and can go no further? Or does he believe Apple won’t be the company to do it? The man is stuck in the present with no dreams of the future. If Apple ever made a breakthrough in fuel cell technology, (mobile) devices would see the dawn of a new age. There are things waiting to be discovered that most people don’t even think about.

    2. Whoa, are you the same Jay Morrison that has in the past constantly called for the demise of Tim Cook at every turn?

      If that’s the case, let me congratulate you for a post that doesn’t and make a lot of sense.

    1. This.

      There are only so many “Coke” and “Kleenex” products in the world, and the iPhone is one of them. I was in Thailand a couple weeks ago, and saw a kid at the airport with a netbook of unknown origin (I think it was an Asus) that he had placed an Apple logo sticker over the back of. I heard a translated conversation where the iPhone was referenced as the “generic” term for *all* smartphones. It will be a near-impossible task to top the success of it with the large scale numbers it carries, as much of the article validly points out.

      That’s not to say there aren’t gaping problems in the article, such as:

      “…don’t expect another blockbuster anytime soon.” Bologna.

      And “The days of truly revolutionary innovation may be over for Apple…” Bull hockey.

  3. This guy may have a point. What other gadget do people have more than one of? Do people really have more than one phone? Really? Maybe we upgrade them often.

    We use to do the same for watches but can watches make a comeback? The only gadget I can think of where people actually own more than one, and again, not everyone, is a gun. I suspect anyone who owns a gun probably has more than one. So maybe this is the next big thing.

    SURPRISE! iGun by Apple. Designed in America, Built in China, Shot everywhere.

  4. By judiciously taking excerpts from the article, MDN has slightly changed the point of the article, in order to match their desired take (“iCal’ed!!”).

    Here are a few more excerpts from the article (for a proper balance):

    “There’s more pressure on Apple CEO Tim Cook to instigate the same upheaval in consumer electronics that Steve Jobs helped create with the iPod replacing the Walkman and iPhone replacing all other smartphones of that era. When you have a leader like Apple at the front of the pack, it will suffer the most and get the most coverage.”

    “Apple will definitely have another super product and steal everyone’s thunder. Smartphones were once dominated by Palm, Nokia, and BlackBerry and, today, wearables are dominated by Garmin, Nike and Fitbit. Apple will soon launch an iWatch that will combine the best traits of every wearable on the market today. This product will appeal to everyone — and not just fitness geeks.”

  5. “We doubt Apple will have another $90 billion-plus product any time soon”

    I can’t say that I really disagree with that. I’m not expecting Apple to have another $90 billion+ product any time soon either. I think more likely is that the iPhone will continue to grow, both in revenue and in scope, and Apple’s next big product would be an evolution of the iPhone itself, not a completely new product.

    Apple does not need to have another product as successful as the iPhone in order to continue innovating and revolutionizing products and industries. So I can’t say that I really disagree with the headline either.

    Even if/when Apple enters a completely new category, $90 billion+ is a pretty large amount. Consider, that’s more revenue than Mercedes-Benz cars generated last year, and I don’t think anyone would exactly consider Mercedes a failure.

    1. “…and Apple’s next big product would be an evolution of the iPhone itself, not a completely new product.”

      Yep. Just as the iPhone was essentially an evolution of the iPod. When I bought my first, I actually said “I don’t care about all the rest, I just want an iPod on my phone.” Well, I use it now for *everything* (Yes, even grinding black pepper sometimes ), but that isn’t as important in context as how I got there. Most of the iWatch (iTime?) success will be because it is so closely integrated with our iPhones, so you can call that an evolution of sorts, too. Even for those of you with no interest; that’s okay; enough of us are interested, and who knows? You may decide you want an iWatch just for whatever feature, too, then learn that you like it for a great many other things. (Probably not telling time, though!)

  6. Where do they come up with these stories? It’s like saying Boeing will never have a successful an aircraft as the 747 or Porsche will never come out with a better car than the 911. So what? Insanely successful products may only come along once in a lifetime but can keep a company in wealth for years and years.

    Still, one never knows what the future will bring. A so-called wearables device, in theory, could be used by every man, woman and child on the planet and could generate nearly as much revenue as the iPhone if priced properly. The people who come up with these stories have very limited foresight. Did most people ever foresee the success of the electric light bulb, the bicycle, the telephone, commercial flight or the automobile? I doubt it.

    It might be improbable that Apple will come out with the next technical breakthrough but they’re in the position to do so. They have the money, the retail and online stores and the customers to make almost any product an overnight success. I don’t think Steve Jobs set out to make the iPhone the greatest money-making product of Apple. If I remember correctly, he set very modest goals for the iPhone in terms of sales.

    Saying that Apple’s days of revolutionary innovation are over is so damn stupid. It shows the mind of a pea-brain. You can’t always plan success. It just happens if you set out to design some product you think might be useful to people. The consumer decides what makes a successful product.

  7. I completely disagree that “The days of truly revolutionary innovation may be over for Apple”.

    But Apple won’t match the iPhone for a decade or two because mobile phones are the new hub of innovation. Early supercomputers, main frames, and personal computers each was an innovation hub for a couple decades. For many years to come, the iPhone will just keep getting MORE important as it does more and controls more.

    Maybe by 2024 technology will be ready to switch to another hub, like augmented/virtual reality contact lenses, and tiny implanted sensors for total body integration without any external hardware. Until then, the iPhone will reign.

  8. If Apple releases a product that can morph between the size of an iPhone into the size of an iPad it will be more successful than the iPhone. They have a few patents on this tech.

  9. Quentin’s creative abilities are now shown to be nill.

    There are obvious opportunities in making truly miniaturized or “micro” sized announcement and communication devices.

    Having to grab an iPhone to get a text message is often a pain.

    People have speculated on watches endlessly. I personally suspect that earpieces or those integrated with sun/glasses may be more useful, along with hearing correction ability.

    Micro sized devices are the next frontier.

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