Consumer Electronics

Do Apple's Big Events Matter Anymore?

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Steve Jobs used to plan and announce big Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) events for developers, customers, and the press months in advance. He would wear his trademark black turtleneck, basic Levi’s jeans, and New Balance shoes. He would talk for several minutes to half an hour. He spoke for less than seven minutes when introducing the iPhone in 2007. And he always had massive graphics or pictures on the wall behind him. Once the premier product was introduced, his lieutenants would march across the stage to introduce the new software product features. These events were like huge political rallies. They sold products. Jobs announced a new iPhone, and people lined up around blocks overnight to buy it just a few days later.

One of the captivating aspects of Jobs’ events was the element of surprise. He never revealed what he would introduce until the moment arrived. This created a sense of anticipation and excitement, with people speculating for weeks about what could be behind the curtain.

There is an Apple Event on May 7, 2024, at 7 a.m. P.T., as the Apple website promotes it. Like the events with Jobs, Apple has not said what Apple CEO Tim Cook will introduce at an event the company called “Let Loose.” The speculation is that it will be a new set of iPads, iPad Pencils, a high-end iPad Pro, and a larger iPad Pro. The current iPads were launched in 2023.

No one cares, at least compared to Jobs’ events, what happens on May 7. What used to drive the stock price higher when new products hit the screens in front of Cook doesn’t anymore. That is the core of Apple’s problem. Product launches have lost their luster as more and more are just introductions of upgrades of old products. Apple’s stock price is in a danger zone.

iPad revenue in the most recent quarter was $7 billion, down from $9.4 billion in the same quarter a year ago. The iPad is about 6% of Apple’s revenue. Even if Cook’s event gets some traction, the iPad appears to be a dying product. It won’t be gone, but it won’t be important in terms of Apple’s future.

Jobs is no longer walking across the stage, and the world is not watching.

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