At the beginning of February, Apple announced record results: between October and December 2017, the group posted whopping revenues of 88.3 billion US dollars, with a profit of 20.3 billion US dollars – the highest quarterly profit ever recorded by a company. The company is also buoyed by the success of the iPhone X and the launch of a completely new type of device.
iPhone X more popular than anticipated
Contrary to all the rumours that the new high-end model was set to be a complete flop, the iPhone X has been the most frequently purchased iPhone every week since it was launched in November 2017 – according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Despite selling one million fewer iPhones compared to the previous year, the tech giant was able to generate considerably greater sales revenues and profit. How did it manage that? It probably had something to do with the high price of the iPhone X, which retails for well over 1,000 francs. Looking forward, however, Apple expects sales to stagnate in the second quarter compared to the same period the previous year, presumably as the hype surrounding the iPhone X dies down. In addition, there are still many customers who are simply not prepared to pay such a high price for a smartphone.
From the rumour mill: is a cheaper iPhone X is in the offing?
The current alternatives to the iPhone X are the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus – both are bang up-to-date in terms of processor and camera technology, but do not offer facial recognition and retain the familiar old design of earlier iPhones. According to Apple, the future of the iPhone still lies with the edge-to-edge design and the functionality of the iPhone X, but the company's challenge is now to slash production and development costs. This ties in with rumours that Apple is set to launch a “slimmed down” version of the iPhone X on the market this year, which it will be able to offer at a more affordable price. We’ll have to wait and see…
New from Apple: the HomePod
Apple has finally launched its HomePod, a smart speaker akin to Amazon’s Echo, in the USA and United Kingdom. The new product is expected to arrive on the German and French markets in the spring. It is not yet known when it will be available in Switzerland.
Communicating via Siri
A core element of the HomePod is Apple’s voice assistant, Siri. Just like with Amazon’s Echo, users communicate with the speaker chiefly using voice commands. It is this fact that could delay the product's launch in Switzerland. Why? Consider that, since the fourth generation, Apple TV can also be operated using Siri – but not in Switzerland. Here, the voice control function in the box is deactivated. It’s not clear why. However, the fact that Siri works seamlessly on the iPhone offers a glimmer of hope.
Music via Apple Music
Note that the HomePod only works with Apple’s own streaming service, Apple Music, which is now witnessing higher growth rates than its big rival, Spotify. Analysts currently expect that Apple Music will overtake its competitor by the summer in terms of number of users – a strong argument in favour of the HomePod.