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[TechRadar] 6 tech brands that could challenge Apple
6 tech brands that could challenge Apple

<img src="" alt="6 tech brands that could challenge Apple"/><h3>Introduction </h3><p><img src="" alt="Can Apple's dominance ever be challenged?" width="420" title="Can Apple's dominance ever be challenged?"></img></p><p>Does Apple innovate anymore? With each reveal of a new iPhone there's always one big question from the tech world: is that it? There's a feeling that Apple has <a href="">reached its zenith</a> when it comes to phones. It might be the most valuable company in the world, but the speed of change in tech is unfathomably fast, and share prices can shrink.</p><p>The tech world is littered with super-hot brands that gradually faded away and in the world of phones, there's no bigger example than <a href="">Nokia</a>. Once the number one handset maker globally, the Finnish company became a department within Microsoft before being sold on this month to iPhone maker Foxconn.</p><p>But can Apple, a company with an estimated $200 billion (around £150 billion, AU$270 billion) in the bank, ever be challenged? Here are our fanciful theories, complete with a reality check. </p><ul><li>Also check out: <a href="">What's Apple driving at with the $1bn Didi deal?</a></li></ul><h3>Magic Leap</h3><p><img src="" alt="Magic Leap's mixed reality could change computing forever" width="420" title="Magic Leap's mixed reality could change computing forever"></img></p><p><strong>Fanciful theory: </strong>Fast forward a few years to an era where hardware is abandoned in favour of 'mixed reality', where headsets, head-mounted units or even 'retinal displays' allow us all to interact with computers without using phones, tablets and laptops.</p><p>That's what Magic Leap – which is backed by both Google and Alibaba – is promising with tech that projects the illusion of a hologram into the user's eyes, creating realistic images that fit over the physical world. If a new era of computing beckons, can Apple keep up? Some <a href="" rel="nofollow">think not</a>. </p><p><strong>Hard truth:</strong> Apple must either think it's a crazy idea, or be working on something similar, otherwise Magic Leap would already have been acquired by Cupertino. &quot;It would be a threat to Apple, if Apple didn't take these things on board,&quot; says Richard Holway, Chairman and analyst at <a href="" rel="nofollow">TechmarketView</a>. </p><h3>Tesla Motors</h3><p><img src="" alt="Tesla's Model 3 already has an iPad-like touchscreen inside" width="420" title="Tesla's Model 3 already has an iPad-like touchscreen inside"></img></p><p><strong>Fanciful theory:</strong> The future is all about connected cars. So much so, that if Apple doesn't become a leader in it, as a company it is finished. &quot;The connected, autonomous, self-driving electric car will be the biggest next big thing in the tech scene in terms of revenue,&quot; says Holway, adding: &quot;It will surpass the smartphone in terms of importance to many tech companies … the connected car market could be 10-20 times bigger than the phone market.&quot;</p><p>Is <a href="">Apple Car</a> a thing, or is Cupertino working only on the connected gubbins and iOS for existing car manufacturers? If only the latter, Apple could regret it, and leave itself open to buffeting from a very rapidly growing market. If Apple doesn't reinvent itself in the direction of connected cars, it could lead to some serious regrets in the future.</p><p><strong>Hard truth:</strong> One thing is for sure – Apple is going to have a crack at the connected car. Even Tesla Motors CEO <a href="">Elon Musk thinks so</a>. What if Cupertino gets it wrong and another company, such as Tesla Motors, trumps it? Well, it could buy that company. &quot;Apple could buy Tesla for <a href="">the same price that Microsoft paid for LinkedIn</a>, and I know which company I would prefer to own,&quot; says Holway. </p><h3>Facebook </h3><p><img src="" alt="If VR wins out, it's Facebook that has the hardware and the platform" width="420" title="If VR wins out, it's Facebook that has the hardware and the platform"></img></p><p><strong>Fanciful theory:</strong> Okay, nobody mention Apple's <a href="">Ping</a> social media experiment, the game has changed. Zuckerberg and co are firmly focused on VR via the acquisition of Oculus Rift. <a href="">Apple has plans for VR</a> according to rumours, but with the hardware and a massive platform – 1.65 billion users and counting – it's Facebook that's in pole position. Facebook is also expanding its Messenger platform to challenge WeChat in third-party apps and bots, and Apple's iMessage is beginning to feel a little old hat.</p><p>&quot;Everyone said they wouldn't be able to get into mobile or monetise it, and now they make obscene sums of money … Facebook is the most awesome company around at the moment in terms of what they've achieved, but it will have to reinvent itself to continue that success,&quot; says Holway. After all, it wasn't long ago that we thought that Twitter and <a href="">LinkedIn</a> were the future of social media. </p><p><strong>Hard truth:</strong> Apple will expand its iMessage platform in a similar way to how Facebook is expanding Messenger, and as we've mentioned there are plenty of rumours about <a href="">Apple's plans for VR</a>. </p><h3>ARM</h3><p><img src="" alt="The growth of the IoT will change the shape of the tech industry (Image Credit: Thyssenkrupp)" width="420" title="The growth of the IoT will change the shape of the tech industry (Image Credit: Thyssenkrupp)"></img></p><p><strong>Fanciful theory:</strong> The <a href="">Internet of Things</a> is coming, and Apple could get left behind. Cisco predicts 11.6 billion mobile devices and machine-to-machine connections by 2020, while Gartner forecasts IoT adoption to grow 50% this year alone. Will Apple dominate it?</p><p>No, but Cambridge-based UK firm <a href="">ARM</a> could. &quot;ARM has been able to look to future trends and has reduced its dependence on producing semiconductors for smartphones to less than 50% of its patent royalty turnover,&quot; says Holway, &quot;and it really has moved over to the IoT, with its very tiny transmitters and semiconductors that you can embed in anything.&quot; </p><p><strong>Hard truth: </strong>Although ARM is perhaps one of the more serious contenders to Apple in terms of future earnings potential, all iPhones use ARM-based processors. Apple's status as the world's most valuable company means that an acquisition of ARM is a real possibility, and <a href="" rel="nofollow">has been rumoured</a> before.</p><h3>Foxconn</h3><p><img src="" alt="iPhone maker Foxconn just purchased the Nokia brand" width="420" title="iPhone maker Foxconn just purchased the Nokia brand"></img></p><p><strong>Fanciful theory:</strong> Taiwanese company <a href="" rel="nofollow">Foxconn</a> Technology Group makes the iPhone in China as well as some of the bits that go in it. The firm wants to make all of it – upcoming OLED displays included – <a href="" rel="nofollow">as shown by its acquisition</a> of iPhone display maker Sharp Electronics earlier this year for $3.5 billion (around £2.7 billion, AU$4.7 billion).</p><p>However, as its recent <a href="">acquisition of the Nokia brand</a> from Microsoft demonstrates, the company has ambitions beyond mere assembly. If a faltering Apple iPhone brand were ever for sale, Foxconn would surely be in the running. </p><p><strong>Hard truth:</strong> Foxconn may have just bought the ailing Nokia brand, but the idea of Apple selling its brand to anyone – even if its smartphone business collapsed and the company moved on to other areas – is far-fetched. After all, it's not like it sold off the iPod brand; Cupertino just let it die. </p><h3>Huawei </h3><p><img src="" alt="Richard Yu, CEO at Huawei, which spends more on research and development than Apple" width="420" title="Richard Yu, CEO at Huawei, which spends more on research and development than Apple"></img></p><p><strong>Fanciful theory:</strong> Apple's tagline is 'Designed in California', but everyone knows the iPhone is made in China. All electronics now come from <a href="">Shenzhen</a>, China, which just happens to be the base for Huawei, now the <a href="">world's third biggest smartphone brand</a> behind Apple and Samsung.</p><p>Now <a href="">working with Leica</a> and issuing top-end phones at least as good as the iPhone, Huawei spent $9.2 billion (around £7.1 billion, AU$12.3 billion) on research and development last year, a cool billion more than Apple, and its smartphone sales in Europe doubled over the course of 2015. </p><p><strong>Hard truth:</strong> &quot;Huawei has huge backing from the Chinese state and economy, it's a huge player, and its latest smartphones are clearly up there with the best,&quot; says Holway. &quot;They are extremely powerful.&quot; However, since Apple is almost certainly thinking far beyond the slowly declining smartphone market, Huawei's rise probably isn't causing sleepless nights in California. </p><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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