What will Apple's next billion-dollar product be?

Apple pulls in billions of dollars every quarter, but if iPhone sales do indeed fall in 2016 then the company needs another product in the wings that might take up the slack. But what will that product be?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Apple is a tech powerhouse, but the company is heavily reliant on the iPhone for the bulk of its revenue and profits. Now that an analyst has pointed the bone at Apple and predicted that sales of the smartphone will fall by as much as 5.7 percent during 2016, then Apple might be on the lookout for a new product to take up the revenue/profits slack.

But what will that product - or products - be?

Let's begin the obvious - existing products. Apple could expand sales of products such as the iPad, Macs, and the Apple Watch to bolster sales. But iPad sales are headed downwards, and Mac sales are pretty flat. That leaves the Apple Watch, which looks set to pull in a few billion dollars and could become the Cupertino giant's second biggest cash magnet.

Apple could also try to head off the decline in iPhone sales, and it seems like it might already be starting to do just that.

But what about new products? Is Apple going to drop a "one more thing" on us this year? And if so, what might it be?

Let's throw out there a few ideas:

  • Virtual Reality: Oculus Rift and HoloLens are looking promising, and Apple could leverage its huge developer base to do some interesting things, even if it was along the lines of Google Cardboard.
  • Gaming: Apple TV feels like it's heading in this direction.
  • Automotive: No, not a car, but I can see greater in-car integration, and possible Apple dashboards and such.
  • More wearables: With Google Glass still being a thing, and Apple having ventured into the wearables space with the Apple Watch, more wearables that connect with the iPhone make sense.
  • Mac tablet: I know Tim Cook sort of ruled this out, but that means nothing. If there's money in it, Apple will be eyeing it.
  • Home automation: Another growth area, and since Apple controls the hub - the iPhone - then why not the devices themselves?
  • More accessories: Apple is already pushing out more accessories than ever - including that ugly battery pack - so why not more stuff? Even crazy stuff such as toys or drones?

All these seem to have the potential to pull in billions of dollars. But which option will Apple choose?

See also:

2015: 'Must-have' MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro accessories

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