12 things Apple needs to do next

12 things Apple absolutely needs to do
Is Apple at risk of losing its magic touch?

You don't get to be the world's most valuable technology company without the entire internet telling you that you're doing it wrong.

Pundits, analysts, flamers and fanboys all have their own suggestions on what Apple absolutely needs to do to avoid oblivion - so which ones are sensible? Let's find out, by going through the advice and seeing what we make of it.

Apple needs to make a cheap iPhone

"Apple needs to develop a phone in the $200 to $300 range, simple as that," says Tim Brugger in The Motley Fool. The reason? The iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 will "spark sales but not the kind of growth a company of Apple's ilk requires."

We'd argue that growth is more important to investors than it is to Apple - if Apple's growth stopped it'd still be the world's most valuable tech firm - but Brugger does have a point: the smartphone market is saturated, and developing countries are where the next market is. The big question is whether Apple wants to play in that market.

We say: A cheaper to manufacture iPhone 4 variant seems likely. The iPhone 4 is already down to £319/US$450/AU$449 unlocked.

Apple needs to make a giant iPhone

12 things Apple absolutely needs to do

Fancy an iPhone as big as this? LG's Optimus Vu 2 is more like an iPad mini

Apple needs a phablet, says Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes in Forbes. Less than 5 inches is not enough: Apple needs to make a phone so big you can't lift it. Forbes points out that "Apple initially rejected the idea of a 7-inch tablet - and the iPad mini has been wildly successful".

Of course the iPad mini isn't actually a 7-inch tablet (it's 7.9 inches), but you get the idea. Consumers certainly like big phones, and Apple could certainly make an iPhone Plus work.

We say: We're not going to bet against this one.

Apple needs to Think Different about ads

Ken Segall, the man behind the Think Different ads, reckons that Apple is "battling where it used to crush", and that Samsung is winning the advertising war. It's spending more, and its message is "tremendously potent".

Segall has ideas of what Apple should do, but hasn't posted them yet - and many of his commenters disagree with his analysis.

We say: We'd argue that Samsung's edge is in specs and price rather than advertising, but we'd love to see Segall's ideas.

Apple needs to go into search

12 things Apple absolutely needs to do

Siri has enormous potential, and the more data it has the better it'll be

Bryan Chaffin had an interesting idea: when Apple launched iOS 6 Maps and completely blew it, "it dawned on me that Apple needs to go into search, and in a big way." Not in a Bing billions "OMG APPLE HAS TO COPY TEH GOOGLEZ" way, but by giving Siri more data to play with.

Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan has written about this before and concluded that the trick is to grow Siri "to work with other search partners, to keep Google contained". Unlike Maps, "no bombs get dropped; no consumer is even aware you're fighting a war."

We say: Doable, yes, but difficult and expensive.

Apple needs to buy Orchestra

12 things Apple absolutely needs to do

Mailbox has a great UI, but is it so good that Apple must buy it?

Remember Sparrow, the clever email app for iOS? Google bought it. Have you seen Mailbox, the clever email app for Gmail? Apple should buy its developer, Orchestra. That's what Evan Niu says on The Motley Fool. He says Apple is lagging when it comes to interface design, and if Apple doesn't buy it, Google will.

We say: It's a lovely app and the developers have great ideas, but does that mean it's a must-buy or that Jonathan Ive can't do software?

Apple needs to lose the Steve Jobs 'Depression Mentality'

Under Steve Jobs, Apple went from near-bankruptcy to enormous success, and that's bad because Apple now has a "Depression" mentality where it hoards cash that would be better off in investors' pockets. So says hedge fund manager David Einhorn, who sued Apple for being stingier than his gran.

Tim Cook called the lawsuit a "silly sideshow". He explained: "Apple makes bold and ambitious bets on products and we're conservative financially... deliver it thoughtful is our mantra. Cash is not burning a hole in our pocket."

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.