Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM): Why Can’t Apple Inc. (AAPL) Be More Like Taco Bell?

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares are finally starting to heat up, but it’s Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) Taco Bell that’s getting Fiery.

Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos — the latest installment in the wildly successful line of crunchy tacos served on Doritos-flavored shells — hits the market on Thursday.

Taco Bell knows what it’s doing. Comps at its domestic eateries soared 8% last year, and a major contributor was the Doritos Locos Tacos that were introduced in March. The original Nacho Cheese Doritos-flavored shells were a smash hit, so Taco Bell followed that up with Cool Ranch earlier this year. The spicier Fiery offering is now just days away from joining the growing product line.

Taco Bell has sold 600 million Doritos Locos Tacos since last year’s rollout.

Now, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) fans may very well be fuming right now. How dare I compare Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to the haven of cheap and convenient fast food? If anything, Apple is Chipotle Mexican Grill. Its products are worth a little more, but there’s a cult following where folks don’t mind waiting in long lines for what they want.

Yes, I get that, but let’s talk about innovation.

When Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) saw that it had a monster hit with the Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos, it didn’t rest on its laurels. It hit the accelerator. It spun the flavor wheel. It reacted!

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been methodically slow. That may have worked with the first iPhone in 2007 or the first iPad in 2010, but the annual updates with only marginally incremental enhancements no longer fly in this market. Everyone else seems to be moving faster, and that means that Apple’s market share in both smartphones and tablets is shrinking.

Where’s the Cool Ranch iPhone? Where’s the Fiery iPad?

Chipotle sticks to its basic menu because it can. Comps are growing. The concept is expanding. A carnitas burrito or a barbacoa rice bowl is more popular now than ever. We can’t say the same thing about Apple’s iPad, where its share of the market — measured by industry tracker IDC in terms of worldwide shipments this past quarter — has eroded form 60% to 32% over the past year.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) promised that new products would be coming later this year, and reports point to a media event to unveil the next iPhone next month. If the iPhone 5 wasn’t enough to eat into Android’s dominant market share last year, there probably isn’t a good reason to get excited about the prospects of the industry-defining smartphone’s next entry.

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