Oh, Apple, how we love/hate you so. Unlike every other technology company currently trying to persuade us to hand over our hard-earned money for shiny new gadgets, almost everybody has an opinion on you, your products, your design sensibilities, your sky-high prices, and the attitude of those Geniuses you have working in your Stores.
The noughties (2000-2010) was your decade, with the Mac competing, the iPod and iTunes changing how we buy music, and the iPhone and iPad ushering in a new age where mobile devices reigned supreme. And then Steve Jobs died in 2011, and things have been a little flat ever since. Have you, the once-mighty Apple peaked? Or will you outdo your numerous successes to date?
We asked you, Are Apple’s Best Days Behind It? We had a fair response to this question, with several people enjoying the opportunity to voice their opinions on where Apple is right now and where it looks like heading in the future.
Some feel it will be downhill from here for Apple, while others feel that there are new heights to be reached by Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Phil Schiller, and co. Others still thought the question was ludicrous, and feel that Apple is still at the peak of its powers despite the loss of Jobs and the indefinable edge he brought to the company.
The consensus of opinion suggests that all the while Apple is as profitable as it is then it’s not showing any signs of losing its dominant hold on the market. But profitability isn’t everything, and the company can surely only rely on the same consumer base buying new iterations of hardware for so long.
Innovation seems to have dampened at Apple of late, with iOS 7 disappointing many people due to its resemblance to Android and Windows Phone. Beyond a rumored smartwatch, what new products, if any, does Apple have up its sleeves?
Comment Of The Week
We had great input from the likes of Rudi Niemand, dragonmouth, and Jon Green, to name just a few. Comment Of The Week goes to Humza Aamir, who, as well as the respect of myself and hopefully everybody reading this, receives a T-shirt for this insight:
Although many innovative ideas are associated and credited to Apple, it’s more than often that someone has probably done it before. Walkman before the iPod, the Windows Tablet before the iPad but few devices have caused such a stir as the iPhone did when it was launched back a few years ago and all the smartphone hype these days, the huge slice of the market, cash and customers which rivals like Samsung, HTC and Sony etc seem to enjoy, all owe it to the iPhone, particularly the iPhone 4.
It seems Steve Jobs really did play a critical role in all of Apple’s processes and products. I don’t think we have come across a truly revolutionary product in terms of design or innovation from Apple after Steve’s departure. The tech giant is only stretching those ideas and when it did try on it’s own, they gave us the Mac Pro which due to it’s absurd shape, won’t be winning any design awards soon. If the memory’s not mistaken, the guy who came up on the stage during WWDC while revealing this product did say ‘Can’t innovate anymore, my ass’ and what came up next on the screen was anything but.
To be honest, what Apple really can’t do these days, is fill it’s own shoes. They do have beautiful products on offer ranging from desktops to laptops to smartphones to tablets but the day is not far away that the trademark design becomes long in the tooth and since the competition has caught up so fiercely, it may come sooner than expected.
But Apple’s not the one to blame is it? It’s in the human nature that once it’s elevated to a certain height of innovation, beauty and the perfect blend of form with function, it only expects more and more in the next iteration. It’s the way tech works, we can’t go back and we can’t even stay where we are for more than a few months. Even the Galaxy S4 from Samsung is suffering from this and the sale figures suggest an inevitable downhill as well.
And are Apple’s best days behind it? Looking at their recent efforts with iOS 7 and other products from the WWDC, they certainly have ‘improved’ themselves and ‘kept on’ with the times. But as the firm’s best days were defined by the array of jaw-dropping gadgets and revolutionary ideas and not mere ‘improvements’, it’s just demoted itself from the tech throne and is no more leading the competition but is only a part of it, just like everyone else out there.
This comment includes several great points. First, that Apple hasn’t always been an innovator but has instead fine-tuned existing ideas until they work. Second, that Steve Jobs’ influence over the company has become clearer since his death. Third, that Apple is a victim of its own success, and that level of superiority is impossible to maintain.
We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to the MakeUseOf readership. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.
Image Credit: Bill Selak