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Growth Fears Biting Apple

Apple has produced a number of hits in recent years under CEO Steve Jobs, and there's no reason to think that it can't come out with another one. Indeed, in recent times, notes Megan Graham-Hacket, who covers Apple for Standard & Poor's, whenever the company's latest hit product seemed to be coming to the end of its life cycle, Apple has invariably come out with another one.

Still, even under Jobs, the company has had some missteps along the way. The G4 cube, for instance, sold poorly. And the company's sales slumped as it transitioned to its Mac OS X operating system.

Apple seems to be increasingly focused on the world of consumer electronics. That shift has worked well with the iPod. But the risk of mistakes is even higher in the consumer electronics world than in the computing world, analysts say, giving investors something else to worry about.

Marketers of consumer electronics devices face similar problems as retailers that cater to teenagers, notes Graham-Hacket. Consumer demand "can be highly variable. It's not easy to predict," she says.

Apple's move into that world "introduces another area of risk," she adds.
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