The fall of once-unstoppable tech darling Apple (AAPL) has been one of the biggest stock stories of the past year, but Otterbox CEO Brian Thomas thinks it’s overhyped.
For those who don’t know, Otterbox is the No. 1 selling case for smartphones in the U.S., and the privately owned company is one of the fastest-growing in the nation. From 2009 to 2012, revenue rocketed higher by more than 1,000%.
While Thomas noted that Apple is indeed facing “strong competitors in the mobile tech segment” — pointing to the success Samsung (SSNLF) has had with its larger Note line and its Galaxy series, and the popularity of the HTC One — he also thinks Apple remains as strong as ever.
In a recent interview, he said:
“I don’t think there’s much to the ‘fall’ of Apple. They’re still a very strong company and whenever they come out with their next device, people will be lined up to buy it. Apple products are very popular and make up a very strong piece of our business.”
It won’t be long before we find out whether he’s right — the next-generation Apple iPhone 5S and new iPhone 5C are rumored to be scheduled for a September release.
Also, while many have expressed concern about AAPL cannibalizing its own products, Thomas thinks there is plenty of growth left for both tablets and smartphones.
As he put it:
“We do not see any cannibalization of smartphones by the tablet users. There certainly has been a rise in tablets, but smartphone sales are also rising steadily. U.S. tablet shipments are projected to grow from about 47 million units shipped at the end of 2012 to over 100 million units by the end of 2016. Smartphones are projected to go from 134 million in 2012 to nearly 200 million in 2016, so there’s a lot of growth left in both segments.
Tablets tend to be more of a consumption device, meaning people watch videos, check their Facebook (FB) accounts, but the smartphone tends to be a productivity and input device where people use it to answer emails, text and communicate.”
Granted, that still means Apple has to not just get consumers to choose its smartphones and tablets over competitors, but get them to buy new ones again after that.
But compared to much of the chatter around Apple since its fall from grace, Thomas’ comments are a healthy dose of optimism.
As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.