About two years ago it was announced that Apple was in the incredible position of being richer than the US government, with the vendor holding cash reserves of $76.4bn (£46.9bn), while the US Treasury had a measly $73.7bn.
Shortly afterwards it became the most valuable company in the world, and its market capitalisation continued to rise, leading to it becoming the most valuable company in history when it surged to the $623bn mark in August 2012. Even this astronomical figure continued to head north, peaking at more than $705bn in September last year, before dropping back as low as $385bn in April. Although at the time of writing this has recovered to a little over $460bn, and the Mac maker is once again the most valuable business on the planet, having swapped places several times with Exxon Mobil since the start of the year.
The fluctuations of the firm's share price have been coupled with a series of uncharacteristically underwhelming results. All the while Android has become the dominant player in both the tablet and the smartphone market.
With markets and consumers alike holding their breath as rumours of bold new launches in the coming months continue to circulate, we examine four key issues that may determine whether or not Apple has really lost its mojo and, if so, what it can do to get it back.
Rightly or wrongly, it is hard not to note the correlation - causal or otherwise - between the increasingly tepid vibe around Apple and its lack of innovative new launches and the death of its iconic founder two years ago. Has the absence of Steve Jobs hurt Apple more than it would care to let on?
Ross Fleming, managing partner of marketing and creative agency Handmade Digital pointed out that Jobs was known for his commitment to aesthetically pleasing tech and great user experience, while Tim Cook (pictured) is considered "more of an under-the-hood software kind of guy".
But he believes positioning itself as a company that is more protective of its users and their data than some rivals could reap dividends for Apple.
"Customers are becoming more aware of their privacy and confidentiality," he explained. "If a phone or OS manufacturer can help ease those concerns, that would go a long way."
David Akka, UK managing director of Magic Software, indicated that Jobs was one of a kind and, as such, a very hard man to replace."In terms of whether Apple has lost its Midas touch, it would be fairer to say Apple lost its Midas when it lost Steve Jobs," he said.
Apple's dominance of its core mobility markets has eroded significantly in the past 12 to 18 months. Four in five smartphones and three in five tablets now run on Android. Apple remains the world's leading tablet manufacturer, but the more than 50-point lead it held over Samsung a year ago has been reduced to just 14 points.
But Richard Holway, chairman of analyst TechMarketView, claimed that he doubted Apple is "too concerned about losing market share".
"They are more concerned about maintaining profits," he explained. "Apple has never competed at the low end."
Barrie Desmond, group marketing director at Exclusive Networks, echoed this sentiment.
"It's wrong to get hung up on market share when talking about Apple because the people at Apple don't think in those terms," he said. "They have always followed their passion and believe that if they are good at what they do, good things will follow."
Magic Software's Akka stressed that the increased ubiquity of mobile devices will hurt rival manufacturers more than Apple.
"The smartphone and tablet markets are nearing saturation, especially at the high end which Apple targets, meaning sales will go from capturing majority purchasers to picking up late adopters and people upgrading their existing devices. This will be an even greater problem for other manufacturers," he said.
However slick the sales and marketing machine has become, Apple has always been considered a product-led company, with founder Steve Jobs having a reputation as a man hung up on creating beautiful and user-friendly devices.
The first-generation iPhone was released in 2007 and the launch of the iPad followed in 2010. But the level of hype and excitement accompanying new releases of each gets a little less with every iteration.
TechMarketView's Holway said: "[I know of a big phone retailer] that does a customer survey of what is seen as the coolest phone on the market, and for years that has been the iPhone. Last year it was the Samsung Galaxy S4. The fact that Apple has lost its cool is probably more significant than anything else," he said.
Ross Fleming from Handmade Digital added: "They were the first [IT vendor] to have that level of hype and they released a new model every year. The closest thing to it is new console releases, but they are typically on seven-year release cycles," he explained. "If people are looking for the iPad to be completely reinvented every year, that is not going to happen."
The areas in which everyone expects to Apple to make moves in the coming months are television and wearable computing. The former might find some lucrative niches, claimed Holway, but the latter could be a big mass-market hit if Apple gets it right.
"[Wearable computing] will be a huge opportunity for people such as Apple. In three or four years' time we will have accepted that kind of technology in the same way we have accepted the iPad," he added. "Let's imagine that they brought out an iWatch in September at £100 a go - it would be an absolute star. The demand is there if the price is right."
A raft of adoringly received product releases drove Apple to become the most valuable company in the history of the world. But a string of comparatively underwhelming quarterly financials and a dearth of new gadgets saw more than $300bn wiped off the vendor's market capitalisation.
Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at financial spread-betting firm IG, believes Apple may have to accept a role as more of an elder statesman, in the manner of Microsoft, rather than the golden-haired child it has long been.
"It simply cannot continue to replicate that incredible growth. It is in a transition period that will see it move from being a big growth company to something more staid," he said.
The fluctuation of the share price - in both directions - can be chalked up to a "self-fulfilling momentum", driven by "a herd mentality", he claimed.
"Gross margins have dropped from 42 to 37 per cent, which is never great, but that is still a whacking great margin."
David Akka at Magic Software was similarly unconcerned by the vendor's recent results.
"The [so-called] disappointing numbers showing in Apple's sales are consistent with previous years for the age of its product portfolio," he explained.
Exclusive Networks' Desmond added: "Apple works and develops according to its own metrics, which are not traditional market metrics. Apple is not about trying to support a stock price or maintain shareholder satisfaction. If the management let themselves become focused on those things, they will never satisfy their passion."
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