Business Matters: If Apple is Peaking, What Digital Services are Next?

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(from Billboard.biz, September 25, 2012) Apple recently released their newest product, the iPhone 5, on September 21. Many financial analysts feel that initial sales were below where they need to be. This comes with a riot at its Foxconn supplier in China, and at least one new feature that was met with large frustration immediately. It was an unusual week for Apple.

The newest operating system for Apple’s mobile products, iOS 6, was released the same week as the new iPhone. It featured a new map application, designed by Apple, which would replace the former map application, designed by rival Google.  This application was met with universal scorn immediately. For instance, in Japan, the application contains incorrect data and may not take into account that Japan uses a slightly different coordinate system than the global standard.  New York Times’ Joe Nocera wrote that Steve Jobs would have never allowed Apple to ship “such an embarrassing application.” Apple is not foreign to weak product rollouts. They have been able to overcome and improve in the past, but they are now under new leadership.

Apple has long been a top company in the digital music industry. With the invention of the iPod, the iPhone, and finally the iPad, Apple has constantly come up with new innovative ways to enhance the digital music experience.  Google, Amazon, and Spotify are Apple’s largest competitors at this time, and some are starting wonder if Apple is starting to lose their hold. Other companies, such as Microsoft, Nokia, and Sonos are trying their hand at coming up with that next big innovative product.

Apple does have at least one bright spot from their newest iOS. Passbook is another new application designed by Apple that is targeted directly at music lovers. Passbook brings mobile ticketing to the mainstream, allowing people to use their iPhone instead of a printed ticket.