"Apple dropped to second place, making profits from iPhone sales of about $4.6 billion, according to Strategy Analytics' estimates."
I understand that if you are not going forward you are going backward or at best standing still. And I get Wall Streets expectations of more, more, more. But this is what I don't understand. Apple made $4.6 billion in profit in three months from one product line. Is that seriously a problem?
True. Apple has had success capturing a bigger slice of the PC market. And again, as others have said, Apple does it while keeping its margins nice and high. In everything it does. Hence the new headquarters.
It is always a bad sign if you are going slower than the market. Maybe it is Apple's strategy, or maybe the just miss Steve Jobs. They better watch out for the next three that had very good growth for the year. They may fall further in a couple of years.
I think this was inevitable. We won't be throwing any benefit concerts for Apple anytime soon, but Samsung has a much broader array of offerings and their high-end Galaxy phones are gaining traction (whether you believe they ripped off Apple or not). The iPhone is still a lifestyle choice/status symbol and thus Apple still commands a premium for it.
"Apple have to bring something disruptive and start it all over again."
The last couple of years, Apple seems stuck with infrequent incremental upgrades. Maybe the 2013 dought of new stuff is due to the management turmoil and they will get back in the game next year. Maybe.
Talk of new things "in the pipeline" won't cut it anymore. Previews and promises can sustain a brand for only so long and Apple has rode that horse into the ground.
"A Samsung phone is not lower cost than an iPhone to an American consumer with a wireless carrier contract."
It's not the case here in Europe. Samsung phones are cheaper than iPhones (often by 20%). The US mobile market suffers from some unfair market practices IMHO, and US consumers are not getting the best deal possible as a result.
Speaking of the lucrative North American market, why would you expect the value/price ratio to fall, considering that the price of a subsidized smartphone is always $199 with a new 2-year contract? A Samsung phone is not lower cost than an iPhone to an American consumer with a wireless carrier contract.