Re: Rock and a hard place
Under that dullard Cook,
Credit where credit's due: he's probably done a darn sight better since he took over than either you or I. Not only has optimised margins, he also made the switch to larger screen sizes, etc. OK, this was an acknowledgement that they were no longer leading the market. But sill impressive to do as well as they have done while depending almost entirely on their suppliers for new stuff.
A more achievable alternative would be to take the handset leasing out of the hands of networks
I think this is probably a non-starter because in many countries they might not be allowed to do it: in Europe exclusive I-Phone deals were annulled. Might be possible in America but it would effectively mean setting up a bank: Apple Capital. Would that be like GM and GE Capital? But would probably work until someone lobs a class action about being able to resell their handset. Or whatever the lawyers can dream up.
But, at the end of the day, if they don't reclaim the highground of innovation then not even builtin obsolescence will save them because functional equivalence will see more people replacing an expensive I-Phone with a good enough Android as long as it does WhatsApp, Fortnite, Netflix, or whatever they feel they can't live without. Leaves I-Tunes to lock people in. In other words, a very big bet on the upcoming streaming video service.