Apple is a massively successful massive giant. The iPhone set the standard for an entire class of device, as well as profitability. But nothing lasts forever, which, in the case of its mobile phone, has been evident for some time. The company has been looking hard for a successor for a number of years. And it seems to have found one.
When Apple announced its most recent quarterly results, the iPhone represented less than half of total revenue for the first time since 2012, according to Business Insider. At 48 percent, it's just a touch under, but still a notable shift.
The company's wearables, home, and accessories category brought in $5.5 billion, with Apple Watch and AirPods being the biggest movers. That was more in dollar sales than the iPad (which had seen falling sales for a few years--Apple no longer reports on unit sales, so such outside analysis isn't possible now). It was close to the $5.8 billion in Mac sales. Services came in at $11.5 billion, second only to the iPhone's roughly $26 billion.
Over time, the company, while not ignoring the importance of the iPhone by any means, will continue to shift its dependence away from the one product line outward to others. The result could well be an even bigger overall business, with less risk from shifts in phone sales.
Few companies are in Apple's rarefied atmosphere. But every business, including yours, faces potentially similar challenges. The world changes constantly. People move from one fad to another or one place to the next. Competitors come and go. Tastes change. Technologies, too. Economic cycles may boost your business or turn against it.
You always must be ready for what could come next. Here are some tips you can get from watching how Apple shifted gears.
Be brutally realistic
Apple talks a good game to set investor expectations and comfort., but the company absolutely has followed the shift in its product mix. There were no surprises. Pom-poms and cheerleading shouldn't be for decision-makers.
Be clear-eyed when you look at your company's performance. Check for early signs of shifts or weaknesses.
While checking to see what might be changing, don't go off the deep end and immediately react. You should always be poised to take action if necessary, but also thoughtful. A knee-jerk response can put your business into a spin and make conditions worse than they actually are.
Always be planning
Data may tell you when things are changing, but it won't help explain how to respond. Strategy is the process of figuring out how to reach someplace new.
The process is constant. New product introductions are strategic and done on a regular basis. So are revamps of existing products or services. All can expand opportunities, but also are defensive. If one area begins to weaken, you want others available.
Have plan B, C, and D
Apple has tried multiple tactics to support the iPhone part of its business. One was creating the X, with its $1,000 plus price. That pushed up average selling prices and possibly margins. The App Store and its ad business, music streaming, insurance, and Apple Pay are all other ways to extend the existing ecosystem and make it more attractive to customers.
Even if there could be one best solution, there's no guarantee that you'd hit on it immediately. Try different approaches and see how they work separately and together.
Ignore the naysayers
Even though you need to be realistic, remember that you're the one with the data and others who tell you what is and isn't possible could be wrong. Or they could be right. But don't assume anyone has the inside line to the truth.
Keep working away, develop your strategy, keep your head about you, and put one step in front of the other. That's how success happens.