A timely Apple snapshot – excerpt:
Apple has actually set a high bar for itself. Unlike its rivals Google and Microsoft, which license their mobile operating systems to many phone makers, Apple builds its own hardware and software and carefully strikes exclusive relationships with wireless carriers that are willing to heavily subsidize its devices. The strategy depends on a constant flow of new products that people are willing to switch wireless companies and pay extra to use.
That same strategy — introducing expensive but elegant products with high switching costs — is showing signs of strain in other parts of Apple’s business. Although Apple has performed better lately than other American computer makers, its sales of Mac laptops and desktops declined by 3 percent in the first three months of the year. That was the first time in six years that sales in Apple’s personal computer business had a year-over-year decline.
My bet: Apple will introduce a super-sized iPod touch-style device next week.