Friday, October 5, 2012

Apple's downfall imminent?

With the recent release of iPhone 5, in my opinion, it is becoming apparent that Apple is really missing Steve Jobs. Within one year of his passing, I have noticed a drastic change in the company's direction. Although I am not a big fan of Apple products, because I tend to look more towards the technical specifications of a product. Now I have realized that the majority of their customers like the look and feel of the product more than anything! This was their main selling point.

As a techie, I would be surprised when people kept ogling over a phone, which had substandard technology as opposed to many other phones in the market. Apparently they were just looking at things like how smooth the curves were or how smooth it felt to touch. Within the last year it is becoming more and more apparent that the credit for all of it went to Steve Jobs. His attention to detail really made Apple products stand out. From the iMac to the iPad, it has always been about how it looks.
The "new" iPhone 5

The new release of the iPhone 5, shows how much the company's success relied on Steve Jobs! It is nothing more than a taller version of the iPhone 4S. Would Steve Jobs let them release such an unfinished product? Hard to say, but I personally doubt it. He would have made sure that it is a big change from the previous iteration, and he would have marketed it as such.

The fiasco over the Apple Maps has just added to my doubts of Apple's survival without Steve Jobs. As a perfectionist, he would have never let them release such an unfinished product. Add to it, that Tim Cook had to come forward and apologize over the debacle. Going to the extreme of suggesting users to use competitor's products, was unimaginable during Jobs' tenure.

Recently, Leo Laporte on his This Week in Tech show, recognized that even the Maps icon was faulty! It suggests that you jump off a bridge to get on to a freeway. Yes, it is being too nit picky, but wasn't that what Jobs did? In Isaacsons' biography of Jobs, he mentions how in the middle of the night he called one of his designers to fix the gradient of an icon! As a perfectionist, would he have missed such a glaring error?

Despite all those mishaps by Apple, the iPhone 5 still sold millions of devices and broke some sales records. The question is: was it because it was marketed right, or was it because of Apple's history of making really good looking phones? If it's the latter, the consumers will eventually wear down and start looking elsewhere. A company cannot rely on its past performance to cover for current flaws for a long time. If this is how Apple continues to "innovate", it might be able to get away with it for another year or two, but eventually it will fail! Hopefully Tim Cook is able to replicate perfectionism of Jobs, or they won't have anything to stand out from the crowd.

Yes, even Steve Jobs made mistakes. His biggest being the antenna issue, where he famously said that the consumers were holding it wrong! He might have been a perfectionist, but he was not perfect. What was great about him, was that he was able to sell the next iteration of the iPhone without anyone pointing out the flaws of the previous one!