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Apple Inc. (AAPL): What’s Next?

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Investors have nearly insatiable needs for growth. As Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has delivered on this front over the past decade, shareholders are now worried about where the Mac maker heads next, as the growth rates they’re accustomed to can’t be expected to persist going forward.

Shortly after Steve Jobs returned to the company, he surveyed various markets that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could tap. He landed on one with universal appeal: music. Everyone likes music, so Apple launched the iPod. Likewise, everyone uses phones so the iPhone made sense next.

Tapping mainstream markets is relatively obvious, which is why investors rightly expect Apple to get into the TV market in the near future. Beyond the mainstream, though, there are still numerous opportunities in smaller and relatively niche segments. The opportunities may be smaller individually, but when considering the number of sectors Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) can explore and the fact that these gains are entirely incremental, they’ll quickly add up.

The personal interests of execs will determine where Apple goes next.

Get fit
Rumors of an iWatch have surfaced recently alongside burgeoning interest in smart watches and wearable devices. At the same time, wearable fitness activity trackers have also begun to gain popularity. NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE)‘s FuelBand and Jawbone’s Up are among the most popular of these new devices.

Tim Cook is a known fitness enthusiast, and reportedly wakes up at 4:30 a.m. every morning to hit the gym before heading to Apple HQ. Cook is also on NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE)’s board, and is frequently seen sporting his own FuelBand at public events. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) also sells the FuelBand and Up in its retail stores. That’s why Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will probably integrate fitness capabilities into the iWatch. If so, the iWatch could be a threat to the FuelBand, which could create a conflict of interest for Cook.

In an extreme case, Cook may need to recuse himself from board meetings or potentially step down from NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE)’s board, much like how Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) ex-CEO and current Chairman Eric Schmidt had to do when he was on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s board. However, FuelBand sales are negligible relative to Nike’s consolidated revenue ($6.2 billion last quarter), so it’s less of a concern than having Schmidt listen in on iPhone and iPad talks.

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