Although Apple is always in the limelight, news of its latest offerings constant fodder for the rumor mill, the tech giant has been a media fixation recently for several reasons. The most important of these is the untimely death of its visionary founder, Steve Jobs. Critics and tech gurus have long credited the outrageous success of Apple to Jobs’ ingenuity and charisma. Now, the New York Times noted that despite reporting overall growth in the fourth quarter, iPhone sales were disappointing.

Part of the reason for slower sales on its most popular product, contends Apple, is that consumers, fed by rumors of the release of a new phone, delayed their phone purchases. According to the New York Times article, iPhone sales declined 16 percent from the third to the fourth quarter. Still, Apple’s net profits have grown impressively over the past year, from $4.31 billion last year to $6.62 billion in the fourth fiscal quarter, which ended recently, Sept. 24.

Despite Apple’s perennial popularity and the unceasing demand of its products, particularly in the mobile market, the globally-recognized juggernaut is not immune to criticism. A recent Forbes article decried Apple’s latest iPhone offering around the time of its release, arguing that it is a “rehashed” version of the iPhone 4. The article noted:

“Due on October 14, this remarkably sucky, shoddy, sloppy, slapped together disaster of a phone will undoubtedly receive huge sales, endless attention, and a fair amount of praise from Apple loyalists. But if you own an iPhone 4 that’s in good working condition, you don’t need an iPhone 4S.”

This particular iPhone critic went on to explain that every supposedly new aspect of the iPhone 4S is not as new as Apple would like its loyal fans to think. The much touted Siri, a virtual assistant that recognizes users voices and can decode fairly complex commands, is a built-in, slightly refined version of an iPhone app that was pulled from the iTunes store. The improved camera, another major update reported in the media, has been given more megapixels and image speed, but according to critics, still does not give users high-quality image capture comparable to a standalone digital camera.

In the face of disappointing iPhone sales, Apple underscored that the iPhone 4S received more pre-orders in one day than any other device the company has every created. The steady popularity of its other offerings, including the iPad, Mac Book, and iPod, demonstrate that Apple is likely not going away anytime soon. For more information about the challenges that Apple will face in the future, check out this fascinating feature on Fast Company explaining the heating competition among Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

Author: Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for best online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99