Apple is on top of the world right now, but nothing lasts forever.
The company must find ways to innovate old products, fight off tough competitors, and keep up employee morale high—all without the leadership of visionary cofounder Steve Jobs.
It's easy to overlook these threats given Apple's tremendous success to date. But if Jobs's handpicked successor, CEO Tim Cook, is not careful, Apple could end up facing one of these nightmare scenarios in the future.
The new Apple TV could end up being a complete flop.
Given the success Apple has had entering the smartphone and tablet markets in recent years, it's easy to assume that the company will do well should it launch a television in the near future. But one analyst suggests the odds are not in its favor.
"Television has been the death of pretty much every tech company that has tried to do it," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at The Enderle Group. "People are expecting this thing to be huge, but it could very well not be."
If Apple's TV set does flop, Enderle says it could "take the wheels off the cart" for the company. The reason, Enderle says, is simple: Apple is a company that lives from hit to hit. Every successful product brings a halo effect to others—think of the way the iPod and iPhone boosted Mac sales.
The television could be Apple's new power product that boosts sales and brings more customers into the Apple ecosystem. But if it flops, the company will have to scramble to find another way to juice its product lineup while simultaneously dealing with critics who see the failure as proof that Apple's era of dominance is over—not to mention customers who have lost confidence in the Apple brand.
Apple never finds another Steve Jobs.
Apple can coast pretty comfortably for the next few years just on the products in its pipeline that were greenlit by Steve Jobs. But the key to the company's success is its ability to spot the next big market it can dominate. Without a visionary like Jobs at the helm, who will steer the company to that next big opportunity?
"Tim Cook is a good manager ... but the fire in the belly that led to where they are was Steve," said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates. "The machine Steve Jobs set up is set to work for at least another half decade, but it's in the out years that it gets unclear."
Samsung could dethrone Apple as the tech industry's trendsetter.
If there's one company right now with the potential to take Apple down, it's Samsung. The two companies are already locked in a battle to control the smartphone market and Samsung continues to step up its tablet offerings to compete head-on against the iPad. As Enderle points out, Samsung is also doing well in markets Apple might have its eye on, like televisions.
"Samsung has the breadth to take on Apple on all fronts," Enderle said, which is all the more problematic because Samsung happens to be a major supplier of parts to Apple—everything it needs to build devices, from chips to screens. "So now a major partner for Apple who knows the most about how Apple markets and designs is the major competitor."
It's not likely Samsung will put Apple out of business anytime soon, but that's not the concern. Instead, Enderle says a justifiable fear is that Apple gets knocked out of the top spot and is forced to chase after Samsung's products, rather than the other way around. This, according to Enderle, could knock Apple "off its pedestal" as the trendsetter for the consumer technology industry.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider