Apple's Future

January 30, 2013

A Non-Expert’s Opinion on Apple’s Future

The dust of Job’s death is settled and the scoreboard speaks for itself. During Steve Job’s two-part twenty-four year tenure with Apple the world was changed. Job’s innovations are innumerable, from the Apple I to the IPad, Jobs has created computer revolutions and has moved forward the world in which we live in. Apple without Jobs shows a stark contrast, without Jobs Apple has a history of creating forgotten misguided products like the Macintosh Performa or the Apple Newton.

Since Job’s death Apple has been running on the fumes of his genius, any attempts to go off his path have led to overhyped misstep after overhyped misstep. Siri, a technology that was supposed to change the world and one of the first things to come out of Apple post Jobs, has been a novelty at best and broken at worst. It is only one in a long growing line of failing products. Apple Maps, a recently made competitor to Google Maps, has been a flop. In a rare apology from a company that until recently has had nothing to be sorry about, CEO Tim Cook wrote “We fell short on Apple Maps.” This is putting it lightly; Apple Maps has been repeatedly called a “complete failure” and led to the ousting of mobile software head Scott Forstall.

Apple’s competitors are catching up to and surpassing Apple’s growth. With the new additions of the Kindle Fire, Windows Surface, and the Google Nexus 7 along with many other smartphones and tablets, the smartphone and tablet market is getting crowded and Apple is beginning to be squeezed out by low priced competitors. In 2012, Samsung, one of Apple’s major competitors, gained three times as much market share as Apple in the smartphone market. In the tablet market, Apple’s market share has dropped from 90% two years ago to only 44% today. The new growth opportunities created by the fall of former smartphone giants Research in Motion and Nokia is not being seized by Apple but by its competitors, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Another worrying trend for Apple is its seeming reliance on new hardware innovations to acquire customers. For a company that made it’s name with new innovations in both software and hardware, its recent software innovations have been few and far between. Even when they do innovate, like with the aforementioned Siri and Maps, the innovations are almost totally malfunctioning failures. Jobs, in his lifetime, refused to accept anything less than perfection. After the launch of MobileMe, one of the few blemishes in Jobs’ tenure at Apple, Jobs gathered the MobileMe team into a room and said “You’ve tarnished Apple’s reputation, you should hate each other for having let each other down.” If this was what Jobs did after such a small blemish, imagine how he would have reacted to the full-scale meltdown that was Apple Maps. Jobs would have, at least in one former Apple employees opinion, “lost his mind.”

This dearth of new must-have technology is allowing competitors like Google and Amazon to catch back up. Since September Apple’s stock price has been down 35%. Apple’s most recent quarter report was four billion dollars short of estimated revenue and Apple lost its spot as most valuable company. Apple needs to innovate or die and currently they are dying. Apple is slowly starting to fade into obscurity. As Edmund Burke put it “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Apple can only sink from here, don’t go down with the ship.

Discussion, links, and tweets

I'm a New York City Rails Dev. Follow me on Twitter or don't, I can't tell. But you really should, there has to be some interesting stuff there.