The budding similarity between Apple and Yahoo
So Apple released brand new iPhone products, yaay! The next question I asked my friend is, ‘what’s new about the product?’. He gave me a straight answer, ‘dual sim’. Like seriously? Double sim? ‘Okay, what else is different?’ I asked my friend. ‘Erm, they have this ACG feature’. What does it do? ‘Health stuff, I think’.
That was my story. I know there would be Apple fans reading this right now who may be ready to defend their own, but before you justify what is, be kind enough to observe what is not.
Another friend of mine once mentioned the observation that Apple has not produced anything completely innovative since the death of Steve Jobs. The company is one known for wowing the world. People look forward to what they have to offer because it is often mind-blowing. Now, all that seems to be gone with the wind.
In an interview I heard some months back, Tim Cook the CEO of Apple says they are not so keen on being the first (that brings about an innovation or feature), rather they are keen at being the best. What that means is very obvious. It may look small, but that is Apple throwing away the edge it has had for years that made it what it is today. Think about it; this is the company that gave us the mouse, iPod, iPad, iPhone. The interesting thing is that when these products were launched the world hasn’t seen anything like it on that scale before. Now, Apple has become the conformist.
Did you watch the first ad Apple made? Perhaps you should
No disrespect to Tim Cook. He is a fantastic manager and probably knows the company better than anyone else in the world. But then, he is not Steve Jobs. The innovative spirit gave Apple its brand. If it is losing it, the effect will sure not be sudden but be gradual. We might be looking at another Yahoo story in the next couple of years. I am sure Apple would make a killing from the phone sales but the reason is that their fans have no reason to question it yet. If the economy goes into a slight recession and everybody becomes frugal about money, what will happen?
Is there enough reasons to justify buying the latest iPhone (with no standout feature) when people want to be economical?
One of the secrets of success is acknowledging what you can’t do and getting someone who can do it. Apple is currently in need of innovative minds. There is a limit to what can be achieved through research and development. Remember, every one of their competitors has an R&D department. The result they got in their labs can be gotten in another lab (with the same parameters, conditions, and processes). The difference has always been in the imagination. It is looking less and less likely that Apple is capable of leading the world into the technological future that people currently fantasize about.
There is an answer for Apple. In fact, two directions they can head to secure their future as a leading company and brand in the technology sector worldwide. The first is to go all out controversial and social, like what Nike is doing. Plus, Nike has been doing this for years. They keep making shoes, nothing really new about the shoes but they keep giving the social world a reason to choose their shoes. If Apple wants to completely stop being innovative and just be a regular company but still be making a killing in sales, they could adopt this approach. But I wouldn’t recommend it, as it can shoot them in the foot.
The second direction (that I would recommend) is to get someone who with a true innovative spirit on board. This is not about someone who went to a nice school and has work experience. This is something completely off the books. Go into the street and find who you need. The street here means the informal world. Apple needs to have a Head of Innovation. Maybe they do now, but believe me, it is not showing. This is not about the title. This is about someone that can dream up an idea or concept. This is about someone who thinks differently and can challenge Apple to create products that wow the world as they are known to do.
If Apple continues in this path without notable changes or switch in directions, they may be fine for the next 5 years but beyond that, the problem begins to become glaring. iPhone is Apple’s best selling product by a significant margin. If they can’t get to that position of market leadership again, the only forward they will go is down. In that sense, maybe this is the peak of Apple. Honestly, I hope not.
Apple is known to change how people interact with technology. And their change has always been sleek, stylish and most importantly, glaring! They have been known to come up with something different or a different way to something. You gaze at their product from a distance and you cannot guess wrong. All that is changing and it means problems are ahead for the company. I wish someone at the top of their management sees this problem before it’s too late. 10 years can be a short time.
I rest my case.