For Apple disciples, interest in the annual autumn launch event is usually centred around the latest iPhone model. It will be the first time in almost ten years the event will have failed to feature a new iPhone. The new 5G model is on the way but has been delayed until October as a result of Covid-19 pandemic-hit supply chains meaning manufacturing is behind schedule.
The whole in next week’s annual launch event’s schedule will instead be filled with a showcasing of Apple’s accessories and other pieces of hardware in its range. Unless the tech giant has a rabbit up its sleeve and a well-kept secret new product or service to reveal. But barring that, and with no whispers it seems unlikely, attention will instead fall on presentations of the sixth iteration of the Apple Watch and a new iPad Air. There are also rumours of over-the-ear headphones called AirPods Studio and a lost-items tracker insiders have said will be named AirTags.
For once, Apple’s non-iPhone hardware will form the central plotline of the event, rather than their usual supporting role. Apple reportedly sees the delay of the iPhone 12 as an opportunity. The company is eager to demonstrate that it is now the portfolio of products and services Apple offers that is its strength, and not just its most successful ever gadget series.
It is that new diversity that has gone a long way to driving Apple’s share price 400% higher than its 2015 level, despite slightly sluggish growth in revenues and profits over the same period. The company’s fiscal year ends with this month and is forecast to yield revenues of around $274 billion and $57 billion in profits. Gains of 17% and 7% respectively on 2015 levels.
But investors now view Apple as a technology platform, or ecosystem, rather than a cyclical hardware company. At least, that’s what Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty explained in a not to clients.
iPhone revenues are actually down 16% over the past 5 years. They now account for around 44% of Apple’s income, compared to 63% in 2015. But the slack has been taken up by wearables and accessories. Driven by the success of AirPods especially and the Apple Watch, accessories and wearables have recorded 144% growth to $6.45 billion. iPad revenues have also grown by 45% to $6.45 billion and services by 162% to $13.2 billion.
There are rumours that a new subscription package that will offer access to Apple’s music, film and television and video games streaming services as well as news and other add-ons will be launched soon. The name of the service currently circulating is Apple One.