Apple seems vulnerable

New York - Apple, the world's biggest and perhaps most admired company, seems to have lost some of its luster.

Despite the hugely successful launch of the iPhone 5 and iPad mini tablet, shares in the California tech giant have slid about 20% from all-time highs, and analysts are questioning whether Apple remains the leader in "innovation".

A flubbed mobile maps program and a major shakeup in key management have also tarnished the image of the firm that had seemed nearly invincible just months earlier.

A more competitive landscape for mobile phones and tablets, including the surge in devices using the Google Android operating system, have also changed the outlook for Apple.

Last month, Apple parted ways with Scott Forstall, the executive in charge of mobile software, following embarrassments over its glitch-ridden maps program, as well as John Browett, who headed Apple's real-world shops.

Some analysts say the company lacks the vision and commitment to excellence after the death last year of its admired chief Steve Jobs.

Apple stock hit a record high above $700 in September, but have since slumped more than 20% to $547.06 on Friday.

"Investors are confused and have lost faith in Apple management," said Trip Chowdhry, analyst at Global Equities Research.

"Apple today is not as customer centric as it used to be, and the rate of innovation is declining when the rate of innovation of competitors has dramatically risen."

Others argue that it is too soon to say Apple has peaked.

Many analysts also remain bullish on Apple and say the recent stock slump is nothing to fret over.



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