An end—finally—to Apple’s annus horribilis

Investors are betting that the company’s worst days are behind it.

What went wrong for Apple in 2016? What didn’t?

  • It picked a fight with the FBI over a terrorist’s iPhone
  • China banned iTunes movies and iBooks
  • Revenue and profits declined three quarters in a row
  • Reported first decline in annual revenue in 15 years
  • Tim Cook backed the wrong candidate for President
  • Its new pro laptop satisfied neither pro users nor Consumer Reports
  • It removed the popular earphone jack from its new iPhones
  • Its wireless alternative—AirPods—arrived too late for most Christmas sales

The good news is that investors are behaving as if the worst is over. The stock is up 30% since May.

See also: For Apple, this week is pure gravy.


  1. Jonathan Mackenzie said:
    “Tim Cook backed the wrong candidate for President”

    To quote fictional browncoat Malcom Reynolds of Firefly, “It may have been the losing side. I’m still not convinced it was the wrong one.” But the point is understood.

    I think 2017 is going to be an economic and geo-political thrill ride. Apple has the foundation to thrive in good times and survive the bad ones.

    2016 was rough for a lot of people. Here’s to a better 2017.

    December 31, 2016
  2. David Drinkwater said:
    Second this:

    “2016 was rough for a lot of people. Here’s to a better 2017.”

    It seems to me that 2016 had a whole mess of inertia and rudderless action, but frequently also very damagingly effectual inaction. Unfortunately, time and tide wait for no man.

    December 31, 2016
  3. George Providaked said:
    Bad year is all relative. Apple totals compared to 2015 were down, but that may not be good comparison to judge performance on sales and profits. Apple on an absolute scale did very well in these areas with growing foundation of committed users world wide.

    Regarding the “noise” on Apple’s innovations or product line, deja vu again and again. The Apple mimics will emerge in 2017 with regards to migration to wireless connections as well as the touch strip on the Pros.

    The Pros remain a significant improvement and while they may not be the desired improvement level they reflect much better machines and as INTEL sorts out ir processor world they will improve. The battery issue is a non-issue and CR will eventually make adjustments on their reports.

    2017 will be a great year for Apple even with the head winds of National and International politics emerging with US, China, and even the EU. The fundamentals are too strong and with enhancements in iPads, Mac [iMac and Pros], Apple Watch, accessories [e.g., AirPods – my wife loves hers], and the large/growing Services market products lines Apple will continue to outperform the competition drawing new customers and keeping existing ones. The likely one off benefit of a tax break will boost Apple dividends and perhaps stock buy backs.

    There will remain lots of political noise in 2017, creating entertaining and important discussions from strong-encryption, build in America [or Brazil, India, ….], workplace diversity, environment, etc. that should engage the public, but have limited impact on business fundamentals.

    December 31, 2016
  4. Richard Wanderman said:
    Tim Cook backed the right candidate for President. Right doesn’t always win but it’s always right.

    December 31, 2016
  5. Fred Stein said:
    First bullet: Comey picked a fight with Apple, and with all users of the internet. And he lost.

    December 31, 2016
  6. John Kirk said:
    “It picked a fight with the FBI over a terrorist’s iPhone”

    Well, it didn’t pick the fight, the FBI started the fight. And Apple won it. I consider this to be one of the good things — and a very good thing indeed — that came out of 2016.

    “Its new pro laptop satisfied neither pro users nor Consumer Reports”

    But it’s satisfying purchasers. I’m tempted to say that no Apple product is really successful unless it’s being criticized by pro users.

    “It removed the popular earphone jack from its new iPhones”

    Apple “lost” here in the same way the the steamship lost to the sailboat.
    Its wireless alternative—AirPods—arrived too late for most Christmas sales:

    Disappointing, but hardly fatal. AirPods are the future, even if that future was delayed by two months.

    January 1, 2017

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