Apple needs to revisit the meaning of courage.
Being courageous doesn’t mean pulling ridiculous stunts just to prove that “you’re courageous”. Being courageous also doesn’t mean trying to be different from everyone else just for the sake of being different.
Real courage is purposeful. It means doing the right thing when the odds are against you.
Apple was courageous for a very long time – marrying beautiful, intuitive design with useful technology in a way very few companies could rival. They built a strong culture, industry leading design principles, and a brand that oozed of luxury, beauty, and uncompromising commitment to usability.
Other brands couldn’t match Apple because Apple was built by Steve Jobs on the very concept of great design – but there is a very clear distinction between great design and design fluff.
The new features released in both the new iPhones and Macbooks seem forced. Removing essentials that make life easier, like the iPhone earphone cords and headphone jacks…is just plain dumb.
Pushing gimmicky features like the mediocre OLED touch bar function on the new Macbook makes me think Apple is really struggling to justify their products’ hefty price tags.
So what the fuck is happening these days with Apple?
It almost feels like Apple is running out of ideas in a market full of hungry, determined competitors. They seem to be having trouble creating real design solutions, opting to instead cram “courageous” features and products down the throats of their loyal customers. That’s not courageous. It’s straight up lazy and disrespectful to Apple’s fan base.
Apple has started to resemble a beleaguered comedian shouting shitty one liners to anyone that will listen because they live with the need to live up to everyone else’s expectations.
It’s understandable why Apple has been falling behind.
In the smart phone market, creating real innovation takes a ridiculous amount of time and effort. Apple is set to easily surpass $10 billion in R&D in 2016, up almost 50% from the last fiscal year.
Competition is constantly threatening to move the luxury of having a smart phone into a commodity. Everyone has slick screens now and HD displays. Pressure sensitive interactions are standard in many phones, and vendors push an array of additional features from curved screens to the promise of advanced gesture detection to get people to buy.
Apple products have always demanded a premium price tag for hardware that fell behind competitors, but made up for it with great user interfaces, slick product design, and their award winning marketing. With competition catching up to Apple in all three categories, life ain’t easy.
Everything moves in cycles, and technology companies aren’t an exception to the ebb and flow of empires falling and rebuilding. A little over two decades ago, Apple was on the verge of falling apart. Now, they’ve become a global powerhouse that has set the standard in many industries for great customer centricity. It might be time for them to hurt enough again to realize that they need to rethink who they are and how they can innovate.
It would be a less colorful world if Apple fell from grace, and their throne high up in the sky would be a hard one to fill. Chinese competitors like Huawei are a huge threat, and while Samsung has fumbled in a huge way, they still remain a dangerous adversary to Apple in both the smartphone and technology market. Microsoft is taking bold steps outside of the smartphone market.
Here’s to hoping Apple steps up their game.
…Because nobody wants Microsoft to be the standard for sexy tech (props on the Surface Pro ad though).