Monday, December 2, 2013

Think The Same - Apple’s decline in revolution and innovation.

“Will big blue dominate the entire computer industry, the entire information age? Was George Orwell right about 1984?”

It’s 1984 and Apple is about to shock the world with it’s new computer that will revolutionize the entire industry, thus saving thousands from becoming prisoners to IBM. At this point Apple had already become IBM’s biggest competitor and was slated as the only hope the computer industry had to not being overrun by IBM.

The Macintosh went on to become the computer for the average person. A beautiful product, albeit expensive, that targeted those not in suits. Apple was headed to reign supreme. Unfortunately, they then stumbled due to their closed approach while Microsoft flourished, spraying its software everywhere through low-cost personal computers.

However, Apple has had a quick and triumphant rise over the past 20 years and most of that is thanks to them being on the forefront of innovation technologies. Apple has been taking risks with every new product they came out with and forced the competition to evolve based on what they thought was going to be the future. One of the greatest products to come out of Apple in the past decade is definitely the iPhone. This single product launched Apple into an entirely different rank in the eyes of consumers and competition. Up until this point Apple was still Apple Computers Inc. and only created computers and iPods. This put them into a completely different playing field and they completely threw it for a loop. Apple didn’t invent anything with the iPhone, but they did rethink everything about what a phone was and how it should work. From this point on Apple skyrocketed to the highest valued corporation it is today.

After the iPhone came the next revolutionizing product, the iPad. Both of these products launched the smartphone and tablet industry and single handedly defined what a real smartphone and tablet was supposed to look and feel like. Unfortunately though it seems that the innovation didn’t get much farther than that. Apple had realized they struck gold with these two ideas, and seemingly decided to stop innovating and start capitalizing.

With Apple now on top, they have no reason to act as the underdog, as the company that will make giant monotonous corporations buckle with fear.

When taking a closer look at Apple’s product line and their progression, it’s easy to see the decline in innovation.

The iPhone and iPhone 3G were the beginning of a revolution. After that came the 3Gs which was almost exactly the same as the 3G. People wondered why, but assumed a great product was in the works for the following year. Then came the iPhone 4 with a completely different look and OS. It was fantastic, it looked great, but it did feel the same. Afterwards came the iPhone 4s. At this point everybody had realized that Apple had created a pattern. 2 similar products and then a drastic change.
Just a few days later an announcement came out that shook the world; Steve Jobs had passed away. The stocks plummet and people begin to question wether Apple will be able to keep being the great innovative and forward thinking company it has been over the last 30 years under Steve Jobs. Only time would be able to answer that question.

The next year, according to Apple’s cycle, was going to be another huge update to the iPhone line. Instead came the iPhone 5. It was a massive disappointment and was the beginning of the end.At this crucial moment at Apple, they needed to create something that gave them hope that Apple could still innovate without Steve Jobs. Unfortunately then came iOS 7 and the new iPhones.

The iPhone was still a great device, but it had completely lost it’s essence with iOS 7. It was now a phone that appealed to a mass audience rather than create an amazing device as the leader of the technology age. It had become the greatest common denominator, something that everybody would buy, but certainly not an innovative device that challenged existing products. Apple was now in the business of making money, not changing the way we think about how we use devices.

But the bigger issue is that Apple is facing an existential threat, and with these new products it suggests they have no clue about how to respond appropriately. Android now accounts for more than 80 percent of smartphone sales. This is a company that is currently losing the war of the phone industry. Merely keeping the faithful happy is not working. Incremental upgrades are not going to stem the tide.
In the past year Apple has lost MANY loyal iPhone customers, myself included, and Apple doesn’t seem to care because every year more and more people buy more and more iPhones. Each year is a record breaking opening sale, and because of that is the reason Apple has ditched the innovation and is now snuggled into it’s giant ocean of money as the piles keep rising. Why change a good thing, right?
The new Apple is willing to compromise. And what are they compromising for? Well, it looks like they’re doing it so they can “compete” with Google and Amazon. But early 2000’s Apple never deigned to do something as crass as “competing.” It was a foreign concept. Apple was so far in advance of everyone else, it was ridiculous to think of them as competition. But here is the new Apple inviting comparison to something else.
What Apple needs to do is channel some of Steve Jobs’ craziness from the 70s and 80s and make that a number one priority for the company. Apple needs to save the world from itself, like it did from IBM. The iPhone and iPad are great products and are now on a path that strays from the early ideas of Apple. However, Apple needs another Steve Jobs; somebody that will fight the company and have an insane amount of passion for a product that can change the industry. Steve Jobs managed to change 4 different industries (computer, music, phone, tablet) and it’s time to create something that can do it again.
Apple must prove that they can do more than just survive without Steve Jobs, they must prove that they can reinvent something that the world never thought could change. So that we can once again say…

Here’s to the crazy ones.

View my post on Medium

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