I had hoped Apple would make a new iPhone or something this year, but they haven't. Apple usually has a 'wow factor' when releasing new products or new models of existing products.
I had expected Apple to at least release a new Apple TV that was also a video game console, but nope! I expected the iPhone 5S with a faster CPU and better graphics to match the Samsung Galaxy S4 and other Android devices that outpower and look better than the iPhone 5 does, nope! I hoped Apple would make a cheaper iPhone to conquer the low end smartphone market, nope!
What Apple did was sell more iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4/4S phones at lower prices than the iPhone 5 cost. Sure it cut into their profit margins, but it gained them a bigger marketshare.
I think the lawsuits against Sansumg, LG, and others have cut into Apple's R&D budget for a while. Samsung was making A6 chips and about 90% of the chips used in the iPhone to Apple (storage chips, RAM, DSPs) and since Apple was using them, Samsung must have decided to withhold the new Octocore ARM chips (The A8?) that are used in the Smasung Galaxy S4 that run rings around the A6 chip in the iPhone 5?
There was a time way back when Google and Apple worked together to share technology and secrets to make better smartphones. Google offered Apple the Android OS it bought that was invented in 2005 that has IP going back to Linux in 1993 and also uses Sun/Oracle's Java. Instead Apple took their OSX and ported it to the ARM Platform and made a GUI based on the Android one in 2005 and then modified it and called it iOS. Then Apple decided to sue Samsung and others, despite buying chips from Samsung to make iPhones.
There is a big tablet war going on, Microsoft had released the Surface and Surface Pro based on Windows RT and Windows 8 that are complete and total colossal flops. It burned Microsoft for $900 Million, almost a billion dollars in the red. Microsoft doesn't seem to understand that a tablet is not the same as a PC, and that we are now in a Post-PC market. So trying to make Windows 8 with the Metro UI and then also have a Desktop minus the Start Menu really alienated the PC Users who wanted the Start Menu and Desktop, and nothing like Metro. Plus if a software company makes an App for Metro UI in Windows 8, it won't run in Windows 7 and under. Microsoft should have called it MetroOS or something like SurfaceOS because it is nothing like the Classic Windows anymore. Apple of course has Microsoft at a disadvantage because of this, and even if the iPad and iPad Mini cost more, they don't have the problems of the Microsoft Surface devices.
Even if a Microsoft Surface is a few hundred dollars cheaper than an iPad, Android tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, Nook HD, and the Google tablet are $200 or less right now. Way cheaper than the Microsoft Surface Tablets that cost $299 to $499 plus they have Apps from several different App Stores like Google Play and Amazon Market, etc. From China you have the 'APad' Standard 7 inch Android 4.X tablet for under $99 and in some cases $59 or $39 in China, or India and since anyone can use Android for free, and Windows RT or Windows 8 has a $90 OEM fee to use, the PC OEMS that used to use Windows RT or Windows 8 switched to Android instead. The RT/8 Tablets did not even sell very well and are in warehouses and being marked down. Port Android to them and reformat them to Android and they will sell.
Apple has locked their platform, Apple has locked their OS, Apple has locked their developers. In order to make as much money as they can, Apple made it so a developer needs to pay Apple $100 a year plus use a Macintosh with XCode to submit apps to their App Store. The only way to buy apps for your iPhone is through Apple's App Store. Only Apple can use iOS, it won't run on non-Apple branded hardware. Apple has the easier to use UI, and the marketing behind them to sell as many iPhones, iPods, iPads as they want. Facetime is built into the iPhone, for example, verses installing Skype on an Android phone. It makes it easier for a video chat from one iOS device to another. But because Apple has locked their tech, it drives people away from them, some even dare I say it jailbreak their iPhone to do what they want with it, even to install free and open source software on it or homebrew games that Apple won't allow in their App Store.
The advantage that Apple has right now is a lock in with the education market. iTunes U for example has videos, podcasts, eBooks, and other materials for free for college/university courses. My son's highschool is going 100% digital with iPads using the ESCO app for reading eBooks, and it does not have an Android port. So Apple has locked in many educational organizations into their devices.
Microsoft has forgotten that many people still want to use a notebook or laptop instead of a tablet, the low end $300 Windows 7 Laptops were just fine, but they got replaced with Tablets that just cost more and do less and are not as powerful. I hope Apple still keeps their Macbook line and does not replace it with Tablets. Some people still want to use a keyboard and mouse or touchpad. The Macintosh really lags in video games because Apple uses low end video adapter and GPUs in the cheaper Macs. What Apple should do is allow video cards in the iMac and Mac Mini series to upgrade them to a faster model later if the user wishes. The Macintosh Pro at least used the ATX standard and PCIe video cards and could have a faster card put in. But Apple has no low end gaming Mac with a fast video card and GPU and fast Processor and an under $1000 price. There are $700 PCs that are used for gaming and people make Hackintoshes out of them to run video games on them because the Mac Pro is too expensive. Now that Steam is available for Linux, Apple has even more competition as Linux can be installed on any AMD or Intel based PC to make a cheaper gaming platform than a Mac Pro. Once the Steam Box comes out, watch out, because it will bring PC Gaming to the TV sets as a video game console. This will take away from Apple's Macintosh sales as well as Windows PC sales.
Microsoft best way to survive the tablet wars is to convert to Android, and then port their apps to the Android platform and make the Microsoft Android Store to sell apps. Windows RT is done, can't get enough apps to it, can't run legacy Windows apps on it, no advertisers for the little apps they do have, the MetroUI is a joke and the AndroidUI is way better and has widgets that work better than Metro apps work. Microsoft can never license iOS, Apple won't allow it, but Google and Amazon will allow Microsoft to use Android with welcome arms. Face it Microsoft tried to buy out Barnes and Nobel for the Nook store, if they did they'd be selling Nook tablets that use Android already. When Windows RT is a total fail, Microsoft can save face by porting Android 4.2.2 or 4.3 to the Surface line of tablets and just reformat the storage from RT to Android. They can do the same for their Windows 8 Phones that aren't selling, port Android to them and see if they sell better. If Microsoft sees Apple as a competitor, they need Android, it is their only advantage over Apple, Windows RT is a handicap and disadvantage over Apple.