Where does Apple go from here?

Today Apple is valued as one of, if not the, most valuable companies in the world. And with good reason. I recently took Amtrak's Acela Express train from New York to Boston and pretty much every person I saw was consulting some electronic oracle or another, all with fruit company logos on the back.

It is said that after conquering all the known world, Alexander the Great wept for there were no more worlds to conquer. In a world where the Apple eco-system has permeated the hearts, minds, and wallets of people everywhere, what happens when everyone has an iPhone or iPad?

Apple turned 40 this month, and while the company's history has been well chronicled, for me its story has just begun. As Apple's value grows north of half-a-trillion dollars, the question becomes one Jed Bartlett was especially fond of — what's next?

I don't like to predict what Apple might or might not do on a given Tuesday in San Francisco. Those that do make such predictions are almost always more wrong than right. I will venture to say that Apple must seek new opportunities in new markets.

If you just screamed TELEVISION! — not so fast. The entire TV business is worth about $30 billion dollars. That's it. Assuming Apple takes all of it, that's hardly the type of growth Apple needs to fuel the future. That's the kind of money Apple's keeps under the mattress for a rainy day purchase or two.

It wasn't that long ago a popular mantra in business was that no one got fired for buying IBM. A decade ago, Microsoft was viewed as nearly invincible in the digital age. Today's technology industry is moving at a pace never seen before. Companies with literally no revenue and less than a dozen employees are purchased for billions of dollars or more.

It is in this world that Apple must build a future of continued relevance, must create new products, platforms, and services.

Some say it's just not going to happen. They say it just can't happen. I prefer to think a little differently.

I see a company that in the past didn't look where the road might take them — it paved whole new roads. That company, Apple, didn't just create product and technologies, it created ones we didn't know we needed until we saw them.

That's why predicting what Apple will do next is almost impossible.

I've already begun the discussion in this column. I'd stay tuned if I were you...

Michael Gartenberg

I’ve covered the personal technology beat for more than two decades at places like Gartner, Jupiter Research and Altimeter Group. I’ve also had the fun of contributing my $.02 on the topic at Computerworld, Engadget, Macworld, SlashGear and now iMore. Most recently I spent a few years at Apple as Sr. Director of Worldwide Product Marketing. On Twitter I’m an unverified @gartenberg. I still own some Apple stock.

26 Comments
  • So basically a whole article that amounts to, "I have no idea." Sent from the iMore App
  • "pretty much every person I saw was consulting some electronic oracle or another, all with fruit company logos on the back." That may be true in (some parts of ) the US, but overall Apple's marketshare of the smartphone market is around 15 - 20%. Even in the US it's less than 40% by Kantar's latest figures, so, to put it in the terms you used, there's still plenty left to conquer.
  • No, there's not. The majority of it is just low cost segment of phones market that doesn't warrant Apple attention.
  • Assuming you're right, there's still plenty of premium marketshare to explore, specially outside the US, where Apple simply doesn't have the same kind of power. But Apple has to try to capture more new users and more marketshare, or else iPhone sales are simply going to stagnate and even drop. That's why it's making such a push in India and China, that's why it launched the iPhone SE and that's why it's trying to get permition to sell used iPhones in India.
  • That's where you're wrong as far as the UK ( where I'm concerned) Apple had plenty power especially with the iPhone where its market share is at its highest ever and breathing down the neck of Android. Sent from the iMore App
  • Actually, acording to kantar, Android lost marketshare in the UK when the iPhone 6 launched but has been clawing it back ever since (mostly at the expense of Windows phone it seems): http://www.kantarworldpanel.com/global/smartphone-os-market-share/ But you do havce a point, iOS seems to do better in English speaking countries like US, UK and Australia. Curious.
  • Your assertion is true ONLY if you lump all OEM manufacturers together as some Android monolith. Apple outsells every individual manufacturer in the markets in which it competes (premium) including Samsung. What don’t you Apple haters understand about that? Android is NOT a device, it’s an operating system.
  • Where did I ever imply that I didn't like Apple? I'm actually very brand agnostic, I have a Galaxy S6, an iPad Air 2 and a Surface Pro 4. When I want a new product I simply choose the one I think is best for me at the time and I also include Apple in that selection. My point was simply that if Apple wants to keep iPhone sales rising year after year it has to appeal to new users and increase it's marketshare.
  • To the zealot. Agnostic means you hate Apple. In the same way if someone is religiously Agnostic you will get, fill in the religion, but say Evangelical Christians, that will take everything you say as hating Christianity. Happy Holidays.
  • That was...I don't know. What was that?
  • It's more like 'revising products that exist to ones we would actually want to buy'
  • Who are the two guys in a garage he's referring to? Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard?
  • No. Hewlett and Packard made oscilloscopes and other instruments initially - computers came much later. Sorry your (attempted) snark failed.
  • Nice try, Ace, but I wasn't trying to be snarky. I really want to know. If Gartenberg is referring to Apple, he's wrong. Apple wasn't started by 2 guys in their garage, it was started by 3 guys in their garage (Wozniak, Jobs, and Wayne).
  • Fair enough - that's true, but you must know that most people don't know of, or remember Ron Wayne was involved. Which other company would they be referring to on iMore?
  • That most people don't know who Ron Wayne was doesn't change the fact that Apple WAS started by 3 guys in a garage. 2 guys in a garage DID start HP, which turned into a computer company. What company is Gartenberg be referring to? Nobody seems to know, including Gartenberg. The whole piece is mindless rambling nonsense anyway.
  • How dare you bring logical thought and reason into this comment section! How dare you.
  • What was this article about? Click bait. Very vague. I have to say, I'm not a fan of this guy on the podcasts. All of his articles are like this one here. Sent from the iMore App
  • If they're all the same why do you keep reading them dlashworthjr?!
  • Where does Michael GARTENBERG go from here? He doesn't provide anything in this or any of his other articles at all. Not really a fan of him being on more podcast either. Sent from the iMore App
  • Where does Apple go from here? Beats me. I sure as heck don't like predicting what Apple may do on any given Tuesday. It's next to almost impossible. Stay tuned for more though as I try to put another thought together on this...
  • Umm yep... Exactly and well said! Sent from the iMore App
  • I'd like to see Apple use AMOLED on the iPhone from here. Sent from the iMore App
  • Really enjoying these columns. That's all.
  • I don't where Apple goes from here but I'd like to see Apple make better use of the plus model iPhones, sort of like what Apple had done with the iPads and maybe allow for this party apps to be used as default apps now. Sent from the iMore App
  • They could start by fixing all the **** people hated before. Like itunes. And stop trying to make things thin and make them better.