Apple management hosted a dreary worldwide launch of the iPhone 7, where the company’s managers heaped praise on themselves for having the “courage” to get rid of the earphone jack.
The best applause at Apple’s glitzy September 7 shindig at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in Downtown San Francisco came in response to news that Pokémon Go will now be available for “play” on the updated Apple Watch 2. From a business standpoint, the few thousand 12 year-olds that can afford a $400 watch must undoubtedly be ecstatic.
But for Apple, which sports the largest stock market valuation in the history of the planet at $578 billion, and which relies on iPhone for about 60 percent of sales, the unveiling seemed more like an auto show. Apple managers enthusiastically engaged in extreme smiling, while the specially-selected audience dutifully clapped at the appropriate moments.
Breitbart News warned on August 23 that the innovations for Apple’s global smartphone upgrade would be modest. The company “under-delivered” on innovation as listed below:
- Stereo speakers built-in after years of bad sound quality;
- Slightly more water-resistant;
- Wireless charging as standard;
- 10 percent longer battery life;
- Larger and vastly improved single camera;
- iPhone 7 Plus sports a dual camera;
- Siri is somewhat smarter; and
- Headphone jack eliminated with proprietary Bluetooth Apple Beats AirPods.
All the Apple iPhone 7 specifications had already been leaked and there was no obvious disruptive innovation that will compel a dramatic upgrade cycle within the Apple user’s “ethosphere” or cause market share gains from other smartphone brands.
After five consecutive years of out-performing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of large stocks, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has underperformed the index since January 2015. The poor performance has been all about falling iPhone sales. The company reported 40.4 million iPhone units sold in the third quarter ending June 2016, versus 51.2 million sold during the same period the prior year, and is predicting just 37 million iPhone units will be sold in the fourth quarter versus 48 million in the same period a year ago.
With the stock down 18 percent from its all-time-high in February 2015, the most bullish Wall Street analysts projected that the iPhone 7 would sell about 5 million units less in the December iPhone 7 launch quarter, after moving 75 million units of the iPhone 6S in 2015 and iPhone 6 in 2014. Those projections will probably be downgraded after today’s dismal iPhone 7 launch.
If Apple founder Steve Jobs had still been around for the highly-scripted San Francisco extravaganza, he would have hung his head low when Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, bellowed that the main reason for getting rid of the headphone jack was “courage.”