A Tough Year Ahead for Apple

The year 2024 seems to present many challanges for Apple to tackle. From government regulation, lack of large-scale products excitement to late Gen AI adoption.

A Tough Year Ahead for Apple
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In the past, I used to publish an article on my expectations related to Apple for the upcoming year. Not this year. However, I can still make some obversations, perhaps obvious ones, but they are my thoughts nonetheless.

The year ahead will be particularly difficult and full of unusual challenges for Apple. In terms of regulation, Apple will be under pressure from regulatory authorities in Europe and the United States for greater openness of the iPhone, even if the definition of what that represents may vary from region to region. iOS 18 might introduce third-party App Store support to preemptively comply before it gets ugly. Speaking of software, Apple is perceived as lagging behind in the generative AI space. Is Siri going to integrate some form of Gen AI to play catchup? I have serious doubts because I feel that Siri is built on hard-to-expand foundations.

On the other hand, I do not see any significant launches that could serve as revenue growth generators. The Vision Pro is a niche product with low sales velocity. The renewal of iPads does not offer particularly exciting prospects either. With the transition to Apple Silicon completed Apple is already in a mode of gradual refinement with increasingly diminishing performance gains from one generation to the next. And the iPhone is... mature. It seems like Apple failed to break previous records by a wide margin in the last two cycles (iPhone 14 and iPhone 15). Both were successful launches, but maybe not blockbuster ones. There is a limit to what Apple can add or change to the iPhone, and it seems increasingly obvious that Apple is approaching that limit.

A must-see documentary about Tim Cook

Finally, this documentary about Tim Cook made me think: will his leadership be questioned? Recent departures from the design team are troubling and might be a sign that something is wrong with current product plans. Would it be more appropriate for him to step down and hand over his position to a younger successor with a renewed focus on products? Apple can continue with relative success, but we all know what made Apple successful was a focus on creating great designs that people wanted to buy. The Vision Pro is mind-blowing but feels slightly off in the current context where everyone talks about AI.