Apple Should Stop Looking To Consumer Electronics For Growth

Photo by Daniela Carducci. Via Flickr/ Camillo Miller

As the most successful consumer electronics company of the 21st century, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has unique insight into the future of electronic hardware. The company’s management has seen its own products drive long-standing parts of the market into disarray. That process has happened to Apple itself, of course, but the company prefers to be ahead of the trend. In that vein, now might be the time for the firm to turn away from hardware.

That doesn’t mean that Apple should stop making the iPhone, or that it should give up on creating the next big revolution in consumer electronics. It means it might be time for the company’s management to stop looking to consumer electronics for the newt big growth at the company. Those products that the company is rumored to be working on don’t seem like they’ll reach the success of the iPhone, and things aren’t looking up from here.

Apple Finds A Hardware Exit

Apple has teams of extraordinarily skilled engineers. The firm’s talents have not always lain in the hardware field. It is, in fact, software that ends up selling many of the devices that Apple is trying to move. The company’s recent philosophy has been to use software to add value to hardware. That’s worked well, but the company may be at the end of that particular road.

Software is not something that Apple will ever be able to sell hundreds of billions on in a year. The market for consumer computer and smart phone programs isn’t all that big to  begin with, competition is huge, and the market is hugely differentiated. There is one part of the software market that Apple is bound to find attractive, however. Margins are even higher there than at Cupertino.

Apple will probably never be able to sell enough consumer software to grow the business by any appreciable amount, but there are other ways to sell computer programs to the public. Apple is likely trying to break into electronic services with new efforts, and the company’s future growth is likely to come from those businesses.

Apple Wants To Take Charge Of Your Money

Apple wants to take hold of your money. The company is, according to one of the most persistent rumors dogging it, is going to enter the mobile payments space in 2014. Competing with companies like Square and PayPal may seem like an insane path for Cupertino to follow, but it has merit. The company already holds a large number of active credit card numbers, and people have already placed their trust in it.

Apple is heading for the creation of a mobile payments system, and it’s planning on domination of the e-commerce world, at least according to some analysts. The firm’s ability to create a satisfying user experience, along with its brand value and negotiating power, mean that an e-commerce business operating out of Cupertino is the accessory that investors should be looking to go alongside the iPhone. The iWatch is a distant second.

Disclosure: Author represents that he has no position in any stocks mentioned in this article at the time this article was submitted.