Last month, China expanded its challenge to Apple’s business by launching a regulatory review of its biggest iPhone manufacturer. Foxconn of Taiwan is facing a tax audit and being investigated over its compliance with land use regulations. The scrutiny comes as Terry Guo, Foxconn’s founder, runs for Taiwan’s presidency in a campaign that could boost the ruling party, which opposes closer ties with Beijing.
Mr. Cook traveled to China last month in an unannounced visit that included stops at an Apple store, a visit to the factory of Luxshare Precision, a Chinese iPhone manufacturer, and a meeting with Wang Wentao, the country’s commerce minister.
The broader tech industry has been lifted by enthusiasm for generative artificial intelligence. Last month, Microsoft reported that investments in A.I. were beginning to help sales of its cloud-computing business. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, which has invested heavily in A.I., disappointed investors, who had hoped for a greater lift to sales. Amazon and Meta Platforms, Facebook’s parent company, also emphasized their investments in that area.
But Apple, which is known for its secrecy, has been quiet about its plans for generative A.I. During a call with analysts in August, Mr. Cook said that the company was investing in generative A.I. but was unlikely to provide an update until it had a product to bring to market.
As it looks ahead to next year, much of the company’s focus will shift to the release of its first major new product since 2014: high-tech goggles that blend the real world with virtual reality. The $3,500 device, the Vision Pro, has the potential to provide a new revenue stream at a time when sales of its other products have slowed. Analysts project Apple will sell fewer than half a million units.
The company also is focused on reviving sales of its iPads and Macs. On Monday, Apple revealed new MacBook Pros and iMacs with speedier processors and encouraged customers with older Macs to upgrade. Sales of Macs declined 27 percent, to $29.36 billion, over the past fiscal year.