Remember when everyone had to have an Apple product — an iPhone, Macbook, or iPad? Look at how fast things changed. Android has been leading the tablet and smartphone market and crushing Apple for years now. So what does this mean for Apple?
#1 – Apple is now Apple, circa 1997.
Apple is trying to “me-too” its way back to success with its Apple Watch. We already have fitness bands that tell time. Apple’s desperate desire to “innovate” has ironically had the opposite effect — they’re just copying the success of others. It’s the same mistake they made in the late 1990’s after firing Steve Jobs. They copied IBM and almost went bankrupt. When Steve Jobs returned, Apple made a comeback.
But Steve Jobs is dead. This sounds harsh, but the fact is that Apple never did well without him. I remember owning Apple stock when it was $6 a share. That’s six dollars. With Jobs gone, it’s back to the 1990’s in terms of leadership.
#2 – Apple is falling behind.
Their initial success with the iPhone was because they got it to market faster than Google got Android out. Android predates the iPhone, but most people don’t know that and frankly don’t care. The iPhone got there first so Apple won.
Fast-forward several years. Samsung released an Android version of the Apple Watch before Apple did. They copied Apple before Apple could even get their own product out the door! Bottom line: Apple has lost its competitive edge.
#3 – Apple picks fights it can’t win.
Apple has notoriously sued other companies for various things. Now everyone else is suing apple for patent infringement and a slew of other offenses, and some of them have pretty strong cases. Their fat bank account makes it a prime target for litigation, which only detracts from its ability to provide valuable products and services.
#4 – Their products spy on you.
This isn’t news, and Apple certainly isn’t the only company with espionage built-in. But they really don’t like the idea of “hackers” poking around iOS. With Android and, to a lesser extent, Microsoft products it’s trivial for an experienced security professional to figure out what information is being collected. iOS can be jailbroken and analyzed just as well, but woe unto those who receive an update and have their iPhone bricked because they dared to jailbreak.
#5 – Apple’s leadership is alienating its customers.
In 2014 CEO Tim Cook famously said that those who aren’t of a particular political persuasion should sell Apple stock. He also said that he doesn’t always consider return-on-investment (ROI) when making business decisions. Perhaps people have different reasons for owning stock, but the most common is to get a return-on-investment. But it’s also more than that. People also buy Apple products to get a return-on-investment, whether its financial, emotional, or something else. Tim Cook’s comments indicate that he isn’t interested in serving customers in this way.
Is it too late for Apple?
Flexibility is a vital aspect of any technology. If it isn’t flexible, it can’t change rapidly to meet business or personal goals. Apple just might be turning back into the rigid, sluggish, and expensive relic it was in the late 1990’s. Just think of how AT&T is today. That could change, of course, but their ecosystem is set up in such a way that the longer you’re invested in their products, the harder it is to leave. Maybe we should take Tim Cook’s advice until Apple can get its act together.