Apple is not your typical company. But it isn't just the way it is organized that sets it apart. It also has to do with how Apple spends their R&D money. While many companies spend their money looking into a bunch of ideas, Apple instead focuses on products. But what is Apple doing with all of their R&D spending?
Neil Cybart has a great article at Above Avalon that looks into Apple's R&D trend.
People are focusing on the wrong thing when analyzing Apple's path forward in the face of slowing iPhone sales. Instead of debating how much Apple will try to monetize the iPhone user base with services (not as much as consensus thinks), the company is instead planning its largest pivot yet. There are only a handful of logical explanations for Apple's current R&D expense trajectory, and all of them result in a radically different Apple. In a few years, we are no longer going to refer to Apple as the iPhone company.
It's a fairly bold statement to say that we won't always refer to Apple as the iPhone company. But if their increase is spending is indeed to focus on new products, perhaps something as different as a car, then it may not be a farfetched idea.
Ultimately, this requires some longer term thinking than your average financial analyst. Wall Street is always focused on the short term. But Apple is focused on the future, even if they don't publicly tell us what they are working on. This leaves everyone thinking Apple has fallen behind. In reality, they're planning the next revolution.
Check out Neil Cybart's entire post at Above Avalon. When you're done, you too may see the high possibility of Apple's coming pivot. The big question remaining: what product is going to identify Apple next?