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The Apple Empire: Can It Live Forever?

By , Roslyn, NY
Apple, the hottest technology company on the market, seems to be sitting on top of the world. Every one of their products are number one; their stock is at the highest point ever; and they were just voted the #1 Company by Fast Company Magazine. However, the man who brought this two-time J.D. Power Associates award winning company to the top, Steve Jobs, now seems like the biggest threat to bringing it down.
Struck with pancreatic cancer and a recent liver transplant, Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently announced that he was going to take his third medical leave to focus on his deteriorating health. The moment his medical leave was publicized, Apple’s stock plummeted.

Taking a break from his medical leave, Jobs returned last Tuesday to announce Apple’s newest product, the iPad 2. Before the iPad 2 was even announced at the recent Keynote, stock jumped as soon as investors saw that Jobs would be making an appearance. In fact, according to Google News, more articles on the web were written about the appearance of Steve Jobs than the iPad 2 itself.

What does this mean for Apple? Investors seem to be investing in Steve Jobs, not his company. Looking frailer than ever, the fate of Apple appears to lie in the hands of a sick CEO. Apple does a very good job of preserving the privacy of Jobs’ personal life and health, but unfortunate questions are stuck in the minds of investors: how long does Jobs have? And when Jobs goes, will Apple go, too?

Of course there are many strong supporters of Apple who state that Apple will remain strong, with Jobs or Jobless. Stock patterns, however, tell a whole different story. When Jobs’ health goes up, stock does too. When Jobs’ health goes down, stock does too.

A question that many consumers hold is, is Apple’s greatest and latest invention, the iPad, just an iFad? In Apple’s opinion, their products spark revolutions; any product they make will be successful, even if other companies have failed at the same idea. In fact, they haven’t had a product fail since the eMac was discontinued in 2006, five years ago.

To many, the iPad poses no greater usefulness than a netbook, which can handle a greater number of features, and an iPhone or cell phone, which has a greater portability. Many consumers are purchasing the iPad because they want the coolest new product, not because they actually have a use for it. As soon as consumers realize the uselessness of the iPad, sales could begin to decline, and eventually, the iPad could be just another failed product.

No other Apple product has ever been marketed and hyped as much as the iPad, not even the iPod. If such a hyped product were to fail, it would deliver a huge blow to Apple.

Although I am a huge Apple fan, and stockholder, I firmly believe that the company is on the verge of a downward spiral. A combination of Steve Jobs’ worsening health and the decline of the iPad fad could mark the beginning of the end.

What can Apple do to prevent this? First, they must convince investors that future CEO’s (including possible future CEO, Tim Cook, who is the current COO) can carry the company and build the company just as well as Jobs has. Additionally, Apple should look into creating technology that can be used in other fields, such as medicine, and in motor vehicles. Apple has the brain power to create such products, yet they continue to focus on consumer electronics.

Creating products for other fields, such as medicine, would mean large, expensive, long contracts with hospitals, and health care providers, along with large government subsidies. Also, they would be able to make more money by selling huge contracts and creating products in bulk, then selling individual products to consumers.

Finally, Apple should refrain from making products that consumers have no use for in their everyday life. Instead of creating another thing for people to carry around, why not consolidate all of their products into one amazing hybrid device? The iPad was an attempt at this, but it failed at making consumers’ lives easier.

Can Apple live forever? The world will just have to wait and see.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

chattingchuck said...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 11:26 am

Hello,

I recently read your article and it pondered in my mind whether this is good for the electronic industry. Apple is a great industry but I am a PC and I do not support

 
missyG said...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 11:24 am
i think apple is a geat company and will live long past steve jobs, but their will be competitors to the ipad.
 
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