Analysts to Apple: Bend your knee to Wall Street
Of even more concern to investors: Apple's forecast sales growth for the current quarter is around 7 percent compared with a year ago _far from the 50-percent-plus rate it's often hit in recent years.
Apple usually lowballs its forecasts, but Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer indicated the company will provide more realistic figures from now on.
To be sure, Apple products haven't lost their appeal. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company couldn't make enough iPhones, iPads and iMacs in the holiday quarter to satisfy demand. The problem is rather that Apple hasn't launched a revolutionary new product since the iPad in 2010.
It's a lot to ask that a company reinvent consumer electronics every few years, but Apple did it three times in a decade with the launch of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. In doing so, the company left investors with the expectation of perpetually zooming growth.
Now, Apple looks quite different. It's still massively profitable, but its growth is moderate, making it similar to companies like IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp.
“The company is at a bit of a crossroads,'' said Nomura Securities analyst Stuart Jeffrey. “It's gone from launching big hit products where they didn't have to look at the competitive landscape _ they just did their own thing _ and the growth meant they didn't have to focus on the whims of Wall Street.''
The problem, Jeffrey
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