It is indeed difficult to see how Apple can maintain the growth, but then it has been that way for several years and we're still waiting for the opportunity for all of the doomsayers to finally be able to say they told us so. Of course, there were some that tried to say that the past couple of weeks, but where are they now? All of the conjecture is just that. It is very interesting to watch what happens while we have people trying to make largely uninformed predictions and then compare those with the actual results.
I think they have the *ability* to make whatever magic happen. I even think they have the intuition to spot the next divergent technology.
The question is: can Cook sell it? Any new disruptive technology is faced with a huge when it first launches. Few believed that the iPhone would succeed like it did. Absolutely nobody thought the iPad was anything but a large iPhone that nobody would buy (myself included). We were wrong. But Jobs *sold* it anyway. He pushed past our unbelief. Cook has a big turtleneck to fill to make that happen.
I think Apple is predicting a decline because it knows that the market is getting over-sold. With the 3rd gen iPad (I refuse to call it the "new iPad", and usually refer to it as the iPad 2S), most people have the device that want it, and only serious late adopters are coming on board now. I also think that fewer people upgraded than usually do with the release of the 2S, something of a decline for Apple's usually devoted and upgrade-hungry followers.
Apple is being very business as usual right now, post-Jobs. While this will maintain for a little while, I don't think it can last. In 2-3 years they are going to have to come up with another game changer or MS and Android are going to surpass them.
The cycle has usually gone: Apple changes the game, competitors spend a year or so playing catch-up, competitors surpass Apple by putting in features that Apple missed, Apple tries to catch up with these features and pretends it came up with them first, then just when Apple seems to be losing again they change the game... and repeat. iPod to iPhone to iPad to ??
Apple are themselves surprised to have achieved this success and the high share price is worrying them, which is why they are selling shares in small amounts.
The competition has not been very well organised, and the appeal of Apple products has remained strong.
They have several products lined up, I expect, but no need to launch until they can make enough to satisfy existing demand.
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