Market studies are only as good as whoever paid for it. They can make it say anything they want just by asking the questions differently.Mkt studies will prove different and be more precise in your initial asessment, but the rest is OK.
Apple could have chosen to stay a premium brand but chose to go for volume where its insane success now has become its weakness: has become such a moloch that it’s defending marketshare and can’t innovate at that scale - so it only files patents to discourage others, i.e. to defend itself.
Smaller companies will attack, innovate and disrupt their business model and at some moment they will take over.
Going premium while being a mass supplier is the end game. That can not stand very long.
The biggest company in the world (measured by market cap) famously eschews market studies.
One of my favorite companies of all time, Motorola, couldn't get out of their own way due to market studies. Staying out of business because some report told them not to. Now look at 'em.
Anyways, the foldable phone thing is just my opinion. If I'm wrong, it wouldn't be the first time. But I certainly wouldn't want one. I doubt they would want them in China either (which is a key region for anything to be a mass market success) - I say this because the Chinese wouldn't want to have a part like the screen that could weaken with repeated usage. That's a major reason that Apple got rid of the physical home button. I couldn't imagine the level of OCD with a foldable phone in China.
Peaking smartphone sales is not a surprise. They've been predicting this for years now. This is why Apple is focusing on other sources of revenue, namely Services. AAPL is notoriously cheap. The P/E is well under 20 and had traditionally traded around 14 before the recent run up. Other tech companies that command more generous P/E deal with services. Apple is trying to flip the script and is choosing to emphasize their Services for two reasons. One, they need another sector that has growth potential. Two, they want Wall Street to properly value AAPL.
They've never cared to protect marketshare. No one can innovate hardware at scale, so it's not just an Apple problem. Patents are a cost of doing business anymore. Own enough of them to cancel out the other guy's patents.