Today, Apple’s being led properly day-to-day and doing very well overall. But if the landscape shifts to prioritize those big-data AI services, Apple will find itself in a similar position as BlackBerry did almost a decade ago: what they’re able to do, despite being very good at it, won’t be enough anymore, and they won’t be able to catch up.
If there’s anywhere I worry about Apple, it’s here. As Marco rightly points out, you miss this boat, and it’s really hard to catch up. Apple has been touting its R&D spending recently, but the general consensus seems to be that much of that is invested in the idea of a car–which is a totally different direction than where most of its competitors are going.
That said, Apple is still in an advantageous position compared to RIM, in that it has a ton of cash squirreled away. Just mountains of it. Maybe it can afford to hopscotch over this wave and catch whatever the next one is. And maybe iPhone sales will stay strong enough to let them bridge that gap. I think Apple’s leadership is smart enough to realize that the iPhone won’t be the golden goose forever, and that’s why they’re spending so much on R&D. The only real question is whether that next wave breaks their way.