Apple empire wavers as iPhone sales slow

The Big Five: The top tech companies had a combined value of over $3 trillion last year.

Are we reaching the end of the Apple age? And if so, should we mourn it? This week, CEO Tim Cook warned investors that the company’s latest revenues will be lower than expected.

Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world. Over one billion of its products are in use around the world. Last year, it briefly became the first ever company to be valued at $1 trillion.

But on Wednesday, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, warned investors that revenue for the end of 2018 would be around $5 billion less than originally thought.

Cook blamed China’s slowing economy, Trump’s trade war and customers holding onto their smartphones for longer. Its share prices dropped as a result.

The Big Five technology companies — Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft — dominate the technology world. Like the vast empires of the past, their wealth and influence stretch around the globe.

Each has its own distinct character. Apple’s commitment to design is matched only by its tight grip on security. Amazon’s delivery service and cheap products have transformed shopping. Facebook’s social networks have changed how people communicate.

Microsoft is used by millions of offices around the world. And Google is using artificial intelligence to expand into everything from self-driving cars to living longer.

Yet history shows us that all empires fall eventually. At the end of last year, many tech giants (including Apple) began to see their value fall. If Apple’s time is coming, should we be sad to see it go?

Decline and fall

Good riddance, say some. Apple’s designs may be flashy, but its products are much too pricey. And the company is far too controlling — even its screws have a unique design to prevent tampering from outsiders.

Apple has earned its place, say others. Since the iPod’s launch in 2003, the company has been an amazing trendsetter. Smartphones and tablets have changed our lives, and Apple’s sleek designs really are beautiful. We would miss them if they were gone.

You Decide

  1. Will you be sad to see the end of the Apple empire?

Activities

  1. Apple is known for taking ordinary objects — like watches or phones — and transforming them. Choose something you use on a day-to-day basis and give it an Apple makeover.

Some People Say...

“Our goal has never been to make the most. It's always been to make the best.”

Tim Cook

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we not know?
Although Apple was the most valuable company in history last August, it has since struggled. The value of its shares has fallen by around 30% since October.
What do we not know?
Whether Apple can stay on top if smartphone sales keep falling. It relies on iPhones for around two thirds of its sales, so if they have reached their peak, it will have to make other products work.

Word Watch

$5 billion less
In November, Apple predicted sales of $89 billion in the three months leading up to December 29. On Wednesday, it revised that number to around $84 billion. The final figures will be released later this year.
Trade war
The US and China have each imposed tariffs on goods from the other country.
Living longer
Google’s mysterious biotechnology company, Calico, was launched in 2013 with the ambitious aim of “curing death”. Its website says it aims to “increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan.”

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.