If the recent slump in Apple stock has proven one thing, it is that the smartphone is no longer "the next big thing". But as we enter a new year, one in which Apple shareholders expect much more innovation from Tim Cook than just more buybacks, that leaves one important question not only for investors, but also for entrepreneurs: what, exactly, is the "next big thing" going to be?
The Wall Street Journal recently tried to answer this question, laying out four startups that they see as potentially usurping not only the popularity, but the profit potential of what smartphones once did for companies like Apple and Samsung. The first company they talked about was Magic Leap. They make augmented reality glasses and their investors include Alphabet Inc. and Saudi Arabia's main wealth fund. Their product, bug-eye like glasses, has only been released to software developers so far.
The glasses lay images over the real world similar to some smartphone augmented reality products that have been developed. So far, they have been designed specifically for use by gamers and neurosurgeons. The company has raised $2.4 billion and carries a valuation of $6.4 billion.