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Apple to get its groove back with new products, says panel

A couple of Apple watchers believe the recent spate of negative news about the iPhone maker is mostly perception, and partly cyclical.

Apple's iPhone 5.
Apple's iPhone 5.

Apple could shed some of its bad publicity once it gets back on track with a round of new products. At least, that's the opinion of a couple of Apple watchers.

In a panel led by TUAW editor in chief Victor Agreda, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster and TechCrunch columnist pundit MG Siegler opined about the latest hard-luck streak for the iPhone maker, as described by AppleInsider.

Siegler blamed much of the negativity about Apple on perception, calling it a "media-driven anomaly." But he also suggested that the company is a victim of its own success, asking the question: where do you go when you're already on top?

Munster attributed Apple's current weakness to two factors: a lull in product launches and a shuffle in upper management.

Over the past few years, Apple has revved up the market in March by introducing a new iPad. But last year, the company decided to refresh its entire mobile lineup closer to the end of the year, leaving no new products to excite people now.

Late last year, Apple refreshed top management, too, saying good-bye to retail head John Browett and planning for the departure of iOS software chief Scott Forstall this year.

Those moves have driven the perception that the company is in trouble, according to Munster.

"I think it's a cycle," Munster said at the panel. "They had an abnormally large amount of products that were released at the end of the year. So I do think that that, mixed with the executive shakeup, is changing [the] way that their products are released."

The three panelists also chimed in on the much-rumored low-cost iPhone, saying that such a device is key for Apple to continue growing, especially in developing markets.

"I think the international markets, the lower-cost markets are the biggest reason to be excited about Apple over the next few years," Munster said. "They can't continue to expand like this with their current prices. Two hundred dollars in a lot of markets is a ton of money, and I think Apple historically hasn't been very sensitive to that, but they're waking up to that fact."

Munster held out hope for an Apple TV, which he believes will be announced by year's end.

The panelists also said the rumored iWatch could prove interesting and provide Apple with another avenue in which it could expand.

Do the panelists make a good point? Perception usually does play a key role in the valuation of a company and the price of its stock. But Apple clearly needs to shake up the market with some innovative new products.

And if Apple has nothing to show until September and October when it likely will refresh the iPhone and iPad, Wall Street is sure to continue giving it the cold shoulder.