Analyst: Apple Needs a New Product Roadmap
In its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission made on Wednesday, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) said it had increased spending on research and development by almost $1 billion, or nearly 40 percent, from a year ago. However, according to one industry analyst, one of Apple’s biggest problems is that it has stopped innovating.
“Apple’s innovation is sputtering,” Global Equities Research’s Trip Chowdhry wrote in a research note to clients. “Why is that Apple, the company that brought touch to phones and tablets, stopped just there and did not bring touch to notebooks and iMacs? Why is it that Apple brought high-resolution screens to … some MacBooks and not to all devices? High-resolution screens are a commodity today.”
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The analyst added that he believed the company may be rushing products and lacking a viable roadmap, a fact that, Chowdhry said, possibly led to Scott Forstall’s departure. “Our contacts speculate that Apple executive leadership may have rushed Scott Forstall to deliver products prematurely,” the analyst wrote. “This may also indicate that Apple may be lacking a three- to four-year product road map, because if a roadmap existed, engineers would not be pushed to ship products prematurely — especially when they are not fully tested.”
Apple said in its filing with the SEC that it had increased research and development spending by 39 percent, or $953 million, during the 2012 fiscal year to hit $3.4 billion. “[Apple] continues to believe that focused investments in R&D are critical to its future growth and competitive position in the marketplace and are directly related to timely development of new and enhanced products that are central to the Company’s core business strategy,” the filing read. “As such, [Apple] expects to make further investments in R&D to remain competitive.”
Overall, Apple’s capital expenditures for the year totaled $10.3 billion. Retail accounted for $856 million, while $9.5 billion went to expenses including product tooling and manufacturing. The company said it expected spending to drop to $10 billion in the upcoming fiscal year.
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