Aangedryf deur Guardian.co.ukHierdie artikel getiteld “Apple: wat doen jy nadat hy die wêreld se mees winsgewende maatskappy?” is geskryf deur Rupert Neate in New York, vir The Observer op Saterdag 31 Januarie 2015 15.01 UTC

wanneer Apple is die mees winsgewende maatskappy in die geskiedenis verlede week, ontleders kon skaars hul opgewondenheid bevat.

"Stunning", "Uitstaande", " 'N monster" was 'n paar van reaksies die ontleders se getalle wat die Silicon Valley firma gemaak het $ 18bn (£ 12bn) in net drie maande - deur die verkoop van 34,000 iPhones 'n uur om die klok vanaf Oktober tot Desember. Dit het nou $ 178bn kontant in die bank.

Maar na al die gewoel, die vrae begin. Vir 'n maatskappy wat van die rand van bankrotskap minder as het gekom 20 jaar gelede, Hoe lank kan die goeie nuus voortgaan? Hier is die ses groot vrae in die gesig staar die wêreld se grootste korporatiewe sukses.

finansieel, En dit is die hoogtepunt?

Apple was 90 dae weg van bankrotskap as Steve Jobs weer by dit in 1997 en as hy later aan die lig gebring - maar Apple geneig nou om sy finansiële sukses voor kwartaallikse wins aankondigings bagatelliseren om beleggers en ontleders verras.

winste hierdie kwartaal se was op 'n ander skaal, al. Verkope in die drie maande tot einde Desember het met 30% tot $ 74.6bn. Diegene winste van $ 18bn was tot 37%.

Dit was die vinnigste kwartaallikse groei sedert Maart 2012, maar dan Apple was die helfte van die grootte is dit nou. As hoof finansiële beampte van Apple se, Luca Maestri, gesê: "Vir 'n maatskappy van ons grote wat nie 'n klein ding."

Katy Huberty, 'n ontleder by Morgan Stanley, het gesê dit was 'n "kwartaal vir die rekordboeke" en het haar aandeelprys teiken van $126 te $133, dui sy glo daar is meer groei te kom. die aandele, wat gespring 5% in na-ure handel volgende resultate Apple se, gesluit $117 op Vrydag.

Die groot uitdaging nou, sê Geoff Blaber, vise-president van navorsing vir CCS Insig, is om die volgende groeigeleentheid vind. "Wes-Europa en Noord-Amerika is besig om versadig: om ruimte vir groei Apple het om te vertrou op die neem van groei van het [Google se] Android-bedryfstelsel gebaseer toestelle,"Sê hy. "Die groot, groot, fokus op China en tot 'n mindere mate Indië. "

Ontleders poenskop deur Thomson Reuters verwag inkomste Apple se in die jaar tot September om te groei 22%, maar groei te stadig om 4% in die daaropvolgende jaar.

Is daar baie meer mense verlaat wat 'n iPhone wil?

Apple verkoop 'n rekord 74.5m selfone in die kwartaal, 46% meer as in dieselfde tydperk 'n jaar vroeër. "Die vraag na iPhone het verbysterende was, verbryselende ons hoë verwagtinge,"Hoof uitvoerende Tim Cook het gesê. "Hierdie volume is moeilik om te verstaan."

Die fone verantwoordelik vir twee derdes van inkomste Apple se, en was meer as Microsoft werd en jongste kwartaallikse verkope Google se gekombineerde.

"Dit lyk of die hele wêreld wil 'n iPhone,"Steven Milunovich, 'n ontleder by UBS, het in 'n nota aan beleggers, daarop te wys dat verbruikers nog meer fone het daarop aangedring, maar Apple kon hulle nie produseer vinnig genoeg tot onlangs.

Egter, Toni Sacconaghi, 'n ontleder by Bernstein Navorsing, waarsku dat groei Apple se te afhanklik van die sewe-jarige produk lyn kan wees. " 'N weddenskap op Apple is toenemend 'n weddenskap op die iPhone,"Sacconaghi sê. "Die goeie nuus is, iPhones is groot. Die slegte nuus is, nou dit is ry oor 100% van die groei in inkomste van die maatskappy. "

'N Chinese kliënt koop twee nuwe iPhone 6s.
'N Chinese kliënt koop twee nuwe iPhone 6s. Foto: Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

Hoe belangrik is Sjina?

baie: iPhone verkope ontplof in die land. Apple verbygesteek plaaslike produsent Xiaomi om grootste smartphone China se verkoper in die laaste kwartaal geword. Chinese verkope, wat swak vir Apple was totdat dit die nuutste groter skerm fone vrygestel, kom in op $ 16.1bn, up 70% op verlede jaar - as dit ook nie 'n deal gee dit toegang tot China Mobile se beraamde 760 miljoen intekenaars.

Revenues in China are quickly catching up with the amount it collects in the whole of Europe, where sales were $17.2bn, up 20%.

“I was there [in China] right after the launch in October, and the excitement around the iPhone 6 en 6 Meer [was] absolutely phenomenal,” Cook said during his call with analysts. “You can tell that we’re a big believer in China.”

Apple plans to double the number of its stores in greater China to 40 by mid-2016. “It’s an incredible market,"Het hy gesê. “People love Apple products. And we are going to do our best to serve the market.”

Only a year earlier, in Oktober 2013, Apple was the No 6 smartphone maker in China, trailing Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, Samsung and Yulong, according to research firm Canalys.

“This is an amazing result, given that the average selling price of Apple’s handsets is nearly double those of its nearest competitors,” Canalys says. “While Chinese smartphone vendors are quickly gaining ground internationally, Apple has turned the tables on them in their home market.”

Can it afford for the Apple Watch to fail?

It has been five years since Apple launched its latest truly new product – the iPad – in 2010. To live up to its name for innovation, and diversify revenues away from reliance on the iPhone, Apple needs the Apple Watch to be an unqualified success.

Cook announced that the watch would go on sale in April, giving the company a boost in its third quarter when it will not benefit from Christmas or the Chinese new year, which will have helped the previous two quarters. “We’re making great progress in the development of it,"Het hy gesê.

Apple describes the new product – often referred to as the iWatch, although it has not been officially named – as the “most personal device ever” and it is thought it will be able to monitor its wearer’s health as well as connect to an iPhone to provide several other functions. Cook said app developers had already impressed him with “some incredible innovation”.

Carolina Milanesi at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech says the watch will help Apple extend its sales into a much wider market. “They have been very smart in pushing it as jewellery and design rather than how technologically smart it is,"Sê sy. “They are concentrating more on impressing the design and fashion world than the tech bloggers.

“I think this will be a much more irrational buy than with an iPad. With an iPad you wanted an iPad: this is going to be more of a fashion statement.”

She said the launch would benefit from the fashion and marketing skills of Angela Ahrendts, the former Burberry boss Apple hired last year on a $73m pay package as its head of retail.

Apple poached a string of big names from fashion and design to join its watch team, including Patrick Pruniaux, former vice-president of sales at Tag Heuer and former Yves Saint Laurent boss Paul Deneve, who is now Apple’s “vice president of special projects”.

Tim Cook unveils the Apple Watch in California last year.
Tim Cook unveils the Apple Watch in California last year. Foto: Zuma/Rex

Has Tim Cook emerged from the shadow of Steve Jobs?

Few chief executives were as intimately connected to their companies as Jobs was with Apple, and Cook faced a tough battle to win over investors who feared he lacked the co-founder’s vision and showmanship.

Activist investors David Einhorn and Carl Icahn have tried to interfere with Cook’s management, but he has stood his ground. He’s also shown his steely side by axing Scott Forstall, the former head of its iOS mobile operating system, over the failed launch of the Apple Maps app, as well as replacing the head of the company’s stores, John Browett – the former Dixons boss – after less than a year in the job.

Jobs and Cook are “such different personalities”, says Milanesi, who has followed Apple for more than a decade. “The reception under Cook has been very positive: he is very impressive in operations and managing the product chain.”

Milanesi says Cook has also done a lot to make Apple feel like a more approachable brand. “With Jobs it was aspirational but somewhat untouchable and distant,"Sê sy. “It seems much more open and accessible under Tim, and that’s important as they want to extend the product range to a wide section of consumers.

“His big test will be the Apple Watch, as it’s the first product to be launched under his leadership.”

Will Apple’s huge cash pile become a liability?

Apple is making much more money than it can spend, to the extent that it has built up a $178bn cash pile. It added $23bn to the coffers in the last quarter and nearly all of it is banked overseas. Taking it back to the US to return it to shareholders would incur a big tax bill.

To appease investors Apple has been buying back shares, but by borrowing against the cash rather than using the capital. It bought back $45bn of shares last year but hasn’t made much of a dent in the cash. It has $35bn of debt.

Blaber says Apple needs to maintain a large surplus to give it “the muscle and flexibility to invest in new categories”. But its latest and biggest acquisition – Dr Dre’s headphones and streaming business Beats Electronics – cost it $3bn.

The size of Apple’s cash holding has attracted the attention of politicians. Cook has told Congress the company will eventually bring it back onshore, but only when there is a “dramatic simplification of the corporate tax code” including a “reasonable tax on foreign earnings that allows the free flow of capital back to the US”.

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