Apple - Where's the Think Different?
Some thoughts about Apple, and what they’ve been up to recently.
I recently wrote about some stuff about (what I thought to be) some cynical marketing by Apple over the ‘new iPad’. I was quite surprised by some of the email I got from that blog (Probably about 50 emails to date). Most of them were reasonable comment on my points - whether they agreed with it or not - but some were a bit ridiculous. If somebody starts an email with ‘lolz Apple’ or similar, I don’t generally consider their point that salient to be fair.
It’s interesting that a lot of people - probably more work people to be fair - think I’m a bit of an Apple fanboy, and I can completely understand why they would think this. I first bought an Apple Macbook back in late 2007 with the launch of Leopard. Why? Well, I hadn’t had one before, I love technology, and I wanted to play with it. Nothing more.
Truth be told I loved the platform. I found it fast, reliable, and utterly brilliant at virtualising and running Windows. So I ended up using Macbooks as my primary laptop. Then, of course they bought out the iPhone. I wasn’t in to phones at all at the time - they weren’t interesting - so bought one to try. All of a sudden I ‘got’ the smart-phone concept, and now I like the technology in phones too.
So, I’ve ended up with Apple kit because I’ve found their products innovative, new, interesting, and actually vaguely enjoyable to use. Do I think they are totally unique in their offering? Of course not. They’ve stolen a lot of ideas over the years, and more often than not made them more workable, and bringing them together in an easy platform.
Stuff like FaceTime for example - makes it real easy to video with my daughter pretty much whenever I want. Sure, I can do that with Skype, MSN, (insert a myriad of other technologies here), but Apple made it easy.
So why don’t I think I’m a fanboy? Well, mainly because I’m driven by and love technology...and there’s now technology out there that I think I’ll be using very shortly. Windows Mobile 8 on the Nokia Lumia 920 quite frankly looks amazing, and I suspect it will be my next phone after the iPhone 5. On the laptop front, I’m loving the native Windows 8 experience now. My initial musings on the subject stated I needed some convincing - now I’m convinced.
So, the crux of that is that I believe there’s better products out there than some of Apple’s now...so I’m willing to jump ship, because I like cool technology. Still think I’m a fanboy? Yeah, maybe.
Anyways, I’ve been wondering about Apple’s innovation over the last year or so, and wondering where it’s gone. Their products have evolved haven’t they? iPhone 4->4S->5....What’s the innovation there? Screen is bigger/better, Siri maybe? Hmmm.
What about in the laptop range? Ok, the retina display is nice, and the Macbook Air-type form for the pro is also quite cool. They still do make some very cool and capable laptops. The new iMac refresh, when it hits the shelves, will be a nice all in one.
They’re very evolutionary moves aren’t they? I don’t see really INNOVATION there. Oh god, I can feel the hate mail already.
Microsoft conversely is on a roll right now. Office 2013, Lync 2013, Exchange 2013, Surface, Skype integration, Windows Mobile 8....Oh, and Windows 8. Of course most of that is in the corporate space rather than consumer, but hey, it’s still cool stuff.
It’s interesting to see what’s happened to Apple stock recently too. Sure, it’s undergone some massive (mahoooosive) growth over recent years, but that growth is trailing - and stock is now falling. Interesting article from Macrumors highlights this fall and has discussed some of the reasons for it. For example the recent management restructure was an interesting one.
I suppose in some respects it could sound like I’m being down on Apple. I don’t think I am. I think if anything I want Apple to succeed - but I think they’re missing the wizz-bang that they’ve had for a number of years now. Where’s Think Different?
Apple has a new level of competition from the likes of Microsoft, Samsung, Google etc. now so it really should drive innovation. It should make them better.
I also can’t be the only one who is getting utterly bored with Apple trying to sue the pants off absolutely anybody over what would seem to be patent cases that are pushing the bounds of credibility? Sure, some of the stuff Samsung has done has been a blatant and obvious rip off, but complaining about thumb sliding to unlock - really?
Right now, I don’t think that gap is there. Why? Can they get it back? Maybe they really are missing Steve Jobs at the helm. Come on Apple, go get them!