Even by Apple’s own heady standards, 2015 has been, on the face of it, a hugely successful year.
Record-breaking sales figures, huge profits and new products have helped Tim Cook and co retain a position of dominance in the mobile market.
But has it all been plain sailing? And what can Apple do to ensure it stays at the top of its game? Here’s our report card on Apple’s past 12 months.
Success is spelled 'iPhone' at Apple. The all–conquering smartphone turns nine in January, but interest in the 'Jesus phone' shows no sign of abating.
If anything, it’s growing. And that’s especially impressive seeing as this year was a ‘tock’ year, with Apple retaining the same design as last year’s model.
The iPhone 6s certainly isn’t devoid of new features: 3D Touch, an improved camera, tweaked internal components. It’s unquestionably an upgrade on the iPhone 6.
The proof is in the sales figures. 13 million on opening weekend, a new record (helped in large part by launching in China at the same time as the US and Europe).
And predictions suggests that more than 80 million sold will be sold between October and December.
If anything, Apple has become too reliant on its mobile behemoth. In its last reported quarter, it accounted for roughly 64% of all revenues.
On the flip side, is that so bad when analysts reckon Apple is taking 92% of all the world’s smartphone income from phone sales and a cut from apps, despite the fact it sells nowhere near as many phones as the likes of Samsung?
Sure, Apple may have recorded the biggest corporate profit ever back in January 2015. And yes, its iPhone sales are stellar. But things aren’t rosy elsewhere.
The Apple Watch was unquestionably the most anticipated piece of tech in 2015, but Apple won’t even say how many it’s sold, with reports suggesting it’s nowhere near the high numbers it claims.
It’s even cut the price in the US in order to drive growth. Smartwatches are a busted flush and Apple must know it.
Then there’s the iPad. Thanks to the large screen iPhone 6s Plus and other phablets, tablet demand is dwindling.
Apple revealed that iPad revenues were down 20% year–on–year in October. And a new iPad Pro doesn’t seem as if it can do much to arrest the slide.
Apple’s larger screened phones, launched in 2014, have eaten up its tablet lead.
Don’t be surprised if this once-booming category is cut adrift in 2016 and beyond.
Areas for improvement
Apple can always do better. It knows that, hence it always delivers the goods. But in 2016, it’s got a lot to do.
First off, it needs to prove that its Apple Watch is not a gimmick. That means delivering an updated model that has a battery life longer than a few hours and something that is affordable too.
It could certainly do with a new, smaller screen iPhone.
The iPhone 6C has been touted for ages, but remains a rumour rather than reality. Also, it’s time to stop making claims about ‘all day battery life’ delivered by its products.
All day means 24 hours. Not 10.
Some smaller areas need tweaking too. A slimmer, redesigned iPhone is due. Touch ID fingerprint scanning needs to be more accurate.
And maybe convince banks to allow us to use Apple Pay for stuff costing more than £30.
Plenty to be proud of, but always room for improvement.