Apple Not Yet Able To Beat Its Own iPhone Success

The Apple of today hasn't yet shown much indication of emulating its co-founder Steve Jobs and his streak of world-changing products, but it's still proving a tough act to beat.

The main reason: Before Jobs died in 2011, he left behind the iPhone -- a product with such a devout following that it will likely spin off billions in profit for the foreseeable future. Even if Apple fails to come up with "the next iPhone," whatever that might be.

Signs of Optimism

True, Apple recently reported its first annual sales slump in 15 years and docked CEO Tim Cook's pay as a result. But stock-market sage Warren Buffett and other investors have been betting on Apple's continued success. Its shares are already up nearly 20 percent in the first two months of 2017, hitting record highs and boosting the company's market value to roughly $720 billion.

The recent gains helped keep shareholders in a mostly upbeat mood Tuesday during Apple's annual meeting at its Cupertino, California, headquarters. It was the final meeting on this Silicon Valley campus; Apple is preparing to move its headquarters to a nearby 175-acre site anchored by a spaceship-shaped building glistening in curved glass.

That 2.8-million-square-foot office, the last major project hatched by Jobs, may have stirred more buzz and anticipation than just about any product that Apple has released since Cook took the helm in August 2011.

Dry Spell

The Apple Watch, the only new device introduced during Cook's reign, is the world's best-selling smartwatch. Unfortunately, smartwatches just haven't captured the public imagination the way the iPod, iPhone and iPad did during the decade leading up to Jobs' death in 2011.

Now online music steaming is turning the iPod into a relic, and the iPad's sales have fallen for the past three years.

Those challenges prompted one shareholder speaking at Tuesday's annual meeting to...

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