With the passing of Apple co-founder and visionary Steve Jobs in late 2011 came immediate questions about the future of the company. Would its growth keep on the incline? Would it announce another blockbuster product? Would it keep innovating? There’s little doubt that the company has had a major challenge to deal with, as Jobs oversaw much of the direction of the company. As was proven, his decisions usually resulted in big gains for the company.
Since his passing, however, the company has had a difficult time wooing both press and consumer alike with its launches. CEO Tim Cook isn’t to blame here, as his presentations are good. This has everything to do with the products themselves. The company’s latest iPhone, for example, didn’t bring too much new to the table aside from a performance boost and extra row for your home-screen icons. Unfortunately for the company, this launch also came with it the Apple Maps fiasco.
Then we have the iPad mini, a smaller iPad that drastically cuts back on performance but retails for a much higher price than more attractive Android competitors. While it’s never been uncommon to see Apple products launch with a premium, this was one of the rarer times where the hardware components themselves truly felt underwhelming. There’s always been an argument of how building your own PC will get you better gear than buying a pre-made Apple computer, but this is different When people have a choice between two 7-inch tablets, and one is faster while costing $100 less – that’s a hard sell. The OS alone will only get you so far.
Fast-forward to last week, when word leaked that the company has toned down on component shipments for its iPhone, hinting that the demand for the iPhone is dwindling. Backed with absolutely no market research at all, I’d quicker say that this might be a sign that not everyone wants to upgrade their expensive phone every single year. However, in Apple’s case, the issue is made a bit murky since its follow-up products have lately not done enough to persuade most to upgrade. Moving from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5 might seem like a big deal, but it might not feel like one if you’re going from a 4S to a 5.
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff has stated that Apple needs to “define itself in the post-Steve Jobs era”, rather than try to continue in his direct footsteps. It needs to establish a new outlet and roll with it. Being the most valuable company in the world, it’s hard to imagine that Apple will be anywhere but on top for the next while, but as we’ve seen many times in the past, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.