This is what you hear and read. Sure, it was a hell of a run—iPhone, iPad, all that—but it’s about to end, and fast. If you need any proof, just look at China: the world’s largest smartphone market, flooded with ever-cheaper handsets and tablets from domestic manufacturers that didn’t even exist when the iPhone was first announced. You think those cheap handsets and tablets will confine themselves to the Middle Kingdom? Of course not—China will be the epicenter of a global collapse in device prices. The competition will be beyond Thunderdome, fought by companies armed with little more than a free operating system from Google and razor-thin profit margins. The Cupertino (Calif.) maker of chamfered-edged, precision-etched baubles? Toast. Check Apple’s stock price, down around 33 percent since its peak about a year ago.
None of this rattles Tim Cook. Oh, he’s heard it, of course, but his soft-spoken, deliberate manner in interviews is not cover for how, say, Apple’s share price affects his mood. “I don’t feel euphoric on the up, and I don’t slit my wrists when it goes down,” he says. “I have ridden the roller coaster too many times for that.” Read the rest of this entry »