Is Apple's Core Being Crushed?


Senior Technology Analyst Eric Bleeker and Chief Technology Officer Jeremy Phillips discuss dangers to Apple 's culture in its current legal battles. As part of its legal spat with Samsung, Apple -- a company that goes to unheard-of extremes to protect the privacy of product design -- has had to reveal the workings of its design process in a surprisingly open manner. The most interesting revealed design is an iPhone concept from 2006 that looks shockingly close to the iPhone 4 design and was inspired by Sony.

Another revelation that's less important to the way Apple functions but is still interesting is that Apple has had to release gross margins for the iPhone and iPad across the past several years. To be sure, Apple has to regularly release sensitive design information through other means, such as patent applications, but while many concepts are dated, it's striking that Apple's inner workings are being laid bare.

Investors might say design isn't at the heart of what Apple is anymore -- pointing to the dominance of iOS software -- and to some extent that's true. But Apple's DNA still centers on design. We've seen this not only in the iPhone, but also the iPad -- look how far that was ahead of other tablets. The MacBook Air was a huge design feat, and the stakes are raised extremely high for Apple TV to come out with a design that's both simplistic and that wows consumers.

Steve Jobs stated to biographer Walter Isaacson that he wanted to go to thermonuclear war against Google's Android, but having Apple reveal its designs and product inspiration in the open feels as if the company is going to launch thermonuclear war against its own DNA and long-held beliefs. Again, Eric cautions that this isn't any reason to sell Apple, but barring a massive Samsung injunction or a huge royalties difference between patents, ongoing court battles are beginning to feel like a pyrrhic victory.

Apple is the most influential company in technology and has delivered market-smashing returns for those lucky enough to have invested in the company. However, with the impending release of the iPhone 5 and Apple TV on the horizon, the stakes have never been higher for the company. If you're looking for a recommendation on how to play Apple along with continuing updates and guidance on the company whenever news breaks, we've created a brand-new report that details when to buy and sell Apple. To get started, just click here now.

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Eric Bleeker and Jeremy Phillips have no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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