Apple hints at ‘game-changing’ products

Tim Cook has seen Apple's share price fall 44 per cent since September. Picture: Getty
Tim Cook has seen Apple's share price fall 44 per cent since September. Picture: Getty
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APPLE boss Tim Cook is under growing pressure to come up with exciting products to tackle its falling profits as Google and Samsung threaten its dominance of the smartphone and tablet market.

The US technology giant has lost more than $280 billion (£185bn) of market value since September amid concerns about its ability to innovate.

Although he stopped short of specifics at last week’s All Things Digital conference in California, Cook hinted that wearable computers could be among the “game changers”.

Rumours are swirling that Apple is developing a “smartwatch”, but Cook said that Google’s Glass device – a cross between spectacles and a mobile computer – would likely have limited appeal.

“There’s nothing that’s going to convince a kid who has never worn glasses or a band or a watch to wear one, or at least I haven’t seen it,” he said.

Since hitting a record close of $702.10 last September, shares in the world’s largest technology company have tumbled 44 per cent, and Michael Hewson, senior market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Apple has most certainly been eclipsed by Samsung in the mobile handset market.”

Google is also aiming to grab more of the market with the launch later this year of its flagship Moto X handset. The device will be built in Texas and is being touted as a lowerpriced rival to the iPhone.

Hewson said Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco later this month might provide a more detailed overview of potential new products, adding: “The outlook remains fairly positive 
as long as consumer demand for innovative products continues to hold up and the company isn’t overtaken by a newer, more nimble rival.

“However, sentiment in the technology space can turn very quickly, as the company found out at the end of last year.”

Apple’s Maps service, which replaced a Google Maps app in September, contained embarrassing errors, forcing Cook to offer a public apology. The 
Apple chief executive has said the firm is investing in its mapping application and other online services, and hinted at further updates to its iOS software for mobile devices.

In April, the group reported its first fall in quarterly profits for more than a decade. Instead of dipping into its $145bn cash pile to fund a share buy-back programme and dividend hike, the firm recently raised $17bn by issuing bonds, some of which have a 30-year term.

Hewson said: “One has to question the wisdom of investing in a company for such a long period of time, especially given that, only 15 years ago, the business nearly went bust.”