Apple iPhone Slowdown? Don’t Panic


The tech press has spent the past few days publicly wondering whether Apple’s iPhone, after years of blockbuster sales, is finally showing signs of weakness.

That chatter stems from analysts picking up a (supposed) slack in demand among the third-party manufacturers in Apple’s supply chain. “There have been many notable supply-chain suppliers to Apple in the last few weeks to either pre-release, report or guide to weaker-than-expected results,” noted investment bank Raymond James, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal.

In yet another sign that Apple might be adjusting its sails in anticipation of future storms, CEO Tim Cook launched an executive shakeup this week, naming a new COO and making marketing chief Phil Schiller in charge of the App Store. Both are big moves; the COO slot, vacant since Cook became chief executive, traditionally oversees Apple’s enormous production pipeline, while the App Store is vital to the company’s mobile and cloud efforts.

Rumors about soft iPhone sales have caused Apple’s stock to dip in recent days. But should developers and other tech pros who depend on Apple’s ecosystem be worried? In a word: No.

Even if iPhone sales slow over the next several quarters, “slow” is a relative term in this context. Apple will continue to sell many millions of devices over the coming years, with iOS maintaining its healthy market-share in mobile operating systems.

From the tech-pro perspective, the bigger challenge in 2016 (in beyond) will be ensuring that apps stand out in a very crowded marketplace. With hundreds of thousands of apps filling Apple’s App Store, Google Play Store, and other venues, even a beautifully designed (and expertly promoted) app risks ending up buried.

According to a study issued earlier this year by Adobe, the average app has six months or so before it reaches the end of its “lifespan,” meaning developers must have a solid marketing plan in place before they launch—and once their app is live, they’ll still need a bit of luck in order to have an impact. Apple’s not racing against the clock for its survival, but it’s a different story for many tech pros who work with iOS.