I think what has people spooked is that Apple is no longer the coolest game in town. Tastes change. I and others have heard anecdotes about how high school kids who are the trend-setters don’t want iPhones because everyone, especially their parents, have them.
I really believe much of the AAPL doldrums are caused by memories of RIM, PALM, etc who dominated their markets for a time, but then were disrupted by others which destroyed their businesses. Samsung/android is doing this now.
Apple needs new products to re-set these expectations. The long rumored Apple TV isn’t going to cut it. They need a product.
The iPhone needs to innovate more in features and less in design. Fingerprint authentication, mobile payments, NFC, etc are critical to re-disrupt the market.
A friend told me he lost his iPhone on the ski slopes and someone found it 18 months later, plugged it in and it worked. I’ve seen an iPhone immersed in water, and it still worked while under water. That is amazing, but also speaks to overengineering. There is a balance between investing in quality product design and investing in the software on the product, especially when most people don’t keep their phones for more than a couple of years.
I also believe that long-term, android dominance is going to fracture. Windows is going to gain market share at its expense and Samsung is going to introduce a competitive OS. When android fractures, Apple’s ecosystem will prove dominant.