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Economist

Information technology: Has Apple peaked?

January 25, 2013

TECH blogs are abuzz. Pundits are busy pumping out predictions. The company that makes the new device that is attracting so much attention is teasing reporters by being coy about its innovative features. Apple?s product launches are always like this. But this time the fuss is not about an Apple product: it is about Samsung?s latest Galaxy smartphone, which is likely to be launched in March.Stiffer competition in smartphones and tablets from the likes of Samsung has spooked investors in Apple. They got another fright on January 23rd when the firm revealed that its latest quarterly profit of $13 billion was flat because of higher manufacturing costs. That triggered a rout in after-hours trading: at one point some $57 billion was wiped off Apple?s market capitalisation, roughly the equivalent of the entire value of Ford, a carmaker.Apple?s shares have been mauled by bears many times before (see chart 1), but they have always recovered. The big question on many investors? minds is whether the firm can rebound again. Two things have whetted the bears? appetites.First, Steve Jobs, Apple?s founder and creative genius, is dead. The iPhones and iPads he sired still...

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