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Will Apple Stay Foolish?

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Steve Jobs was a legend of his times like no one else was. He was a rare combination of geeky knowledge and sense of humor coupled with a gift of speech. He spoke right things at the right time. Just like his products were timed well for the ripe markets, and longing in imparting experience.

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower" Jobs has said somewhere along the way.

After Jobs' death, Apple seemed to have lost its streaking edge. But, do the times look promising and do things look like they are binding themselves together? Well, for starters, we certainly hope so!

Having unveiled a 20% thinner version of Apple iPad, the 9.7in (24.6cm) computer is 7.5mm (0.3in) thick and weighs 1lb (469g) device is said to be the most lightest of all in the league. And as for Retina IPad Mini is to cater to the category that likes compact stuff. Retina has a 7.9in (20cm) screen that has been upgraded to feature 2048 by 1536 pixels - the same as the larger model. It is being branded as "retina" to highlight the increased resolution.

The company has surely seen better days. No more do people lose an overnight's sleep over impending release of Apple Products. When a limited number of iPad 2 shipments found their way to select Apple outlets in New York and San Francisco in the past, the kind of frenzy and hysteria witnessed was exclusive to an Apple product.

Most had no doubt that iPad would revolutionize publishing, gaming, personal computing and almost everything that goes with it. Just like the iPod did with music and iPhone did with smartphones. One question that was asked regularly in the techlists was "will Apple continue to be the driving force behind innovative technology?"

Time has an answer now. Having been the darling of innovation hungry markets, Apple did rule the roost. But in the recent media announcement, Tony Cripps of Ovum said Apple had lost on the market share, considerably.

"Market share slip is inevitable because so many rival devices are coming out, which is not necessarily a bad thing as the overall sector is growing. Apple does now have a cheaper model thanks to it offering the original iPad Mini at a lower price - but the firm doesn't really want to go to the low-end because that's not where the greatest profit is extracted."

In a rather surprising move, Apple's Mac operating system, Mavericks, would be offered free to the owners of computers that are already running any version of OS X released since 2009. This is a first in case of the company that has always focused on niche customers and has not offered anything much for free, in order to play to the gallery. On record, it is the first time the company has not charged for a major Mac OS upgrade.

In the meantime, Apple also admitted that the returns from the product line was three times slower than the growth in unit sales. This is because many customers preferred cheaper iPad Mini and iPad 2 models rather than its top-of-the -range "retina display" versions. Quite a contrast to what the company believes in.

Experts believe Apple focuses on a premium margin than having to make small dents here and there with secondary sales, costing much effort and consuming a lot of time. "We have no issues with Amazon slashing prices. They have a different business model and we are entirely focused elsewhere," said Thomas Hassan or tech analysts firm Forrestor.

But the sales figures are alarming, if the bells are not ringing yet. Much before his death, Steve Jobs has said "Live each day like it is your last. Someday, you will be right..." Wish companies operated that way too, don't you think?