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August 12, 2013

Apple’s Lack of Innovation a Worry for Board: Report

Apple’s board of directors has serious concerns about the lack of new products being introduced by the Cupertino company — and the blame is being placed squarely on CEO Tim Cook, according to a Fox Business Network report.

The board, the report indicated, is “concerned” there simply has not been enough innovation since the Steve Jobs era, which brought forth the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Although Cook has not been quick to launch the next big thing, the report said his job is not in danger as yet.

Cook, who described 2012 as “an incredible year of innovation” during Apple’s annual meeting with shareholders in February, said Apple is working as hard as ever and “has some great stuff coming.”

Tim Cook

Tim Cook

One of the items could be the iWatch, the hotly anticipated and, as yet, still unconfirmed wearable computing device that is expected to hit the market late this year, or early next year.

Apple, in a patent application, described the one-size fits all slap bracelet as layered flexible steel bands sealed within a fabric cover that are roughly one inch in width by nine inches in length. The device, which can lay flat or curl around the wrist, can switch from a convex shape to concave to allow it to be worn with the switches facing up or down.

Citigroup Inc. analyst Oliver Chen said the iWatch could “be a $6-billion opportunity for Apple, with plenty of opportunity for upside if they create something totally new like they did with the iPod — something consumers didn’t even know they needed.”

There have also been rumors of an iTV, sparked by comments Cook made during a December 2012 interview with NBC.

“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backward in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook told NBC. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

A report by Tech Radar indicated the TV will resemble a massive Cinema Display, have an aluminum chassis and will include both Siri and FaceTime.

If the iWatch and the iTV materialize this year, that would certainly appease investors, although it is thought the iTV is not likely to make an appearance until 2014.

According to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, the iWatch and the iTV together could make roughly $80 billion in revenues for the Cupertino company.

Huberty predicted in a note to investors earlier this year that Apple could sell 50 million iWatchs for between $200 and $300 per unit while the iTV would likely have an average selling price of $1,300.

“Importantly, iTV and iWatch present new services opportunities that can differentiate Apple’s broader product portfolio, improving investor sentiment around Apple’s ability to maintain market share,” she said. “Possibilities include, mobile payments service linked to iTunes/iWatch and video search and multi-screen viewing with iTV.”

The Apple rumor mill has also been grinding since the beginning of the year that Apple plans to release a smaller version of the iPhone. Recent reports indicate the low-end version of its signature phone will be dubbed the iPhone 5C.

A cheaper handset would be a bid by Apple to take a good-sized chunk of the Smartphone market away from arch-rival Samsung, which holds the No. 1 Smartphone sales title. Apple is currently well back in second place.

Samsung Smartphone sales have been forecast to grow 35 percent this year, shooting from the 215 million sold last year to 290 million. Apple sales, meanwhile, have been predicted to grow by 33 percent to 180 million.

According to reports earlier this year, the cheaper phone may look like the current iPhone, but would be made with less-expensive materials.