When should a company start thinking it might be in trouble? Your stock is through the roof. Your products are selling like hotcakes, and the newest one will likely shatter old/all sales records. You just scored a big legal victory against a worthy competitor in court. How on Earth could anything be wrong? Why would you ever think that?
Perhaps if one of your biggest fans suddenly starts calling you out as being "boring" it should be a wake-up call. That's exactly what just happened to Apple. Dan Lyons, just wrote an editorial today regarding the launch of the iPhone 5 and Apple in general. In that editorial he had several choice things to say about the direction of the company. In it he called the iPhone 5 boring, and even said that the company's former visionary CEO has been replaced by a number cruncher.
So, why should we care what Mr. Lyons had to say? Dan Lyons is a Newsweek editor and he also happens to be the same person that once operated the Fake Steve Jobs Blog. This was a humorous blog that was designed to pay tribute to Steve Jobs and Apple, and it was fairly influential for a while. Mr. Lyons eventually took the blog down out of respect for Steve Jobs once it was found out that he was sick. If you have ever read any of the blog, it was obvious that he had a deep respect and affection for Steve Jobs and the technical innovations he believed that Apple pioneered.
And now, he is obviously unhappy with how things are progressing over at Apple. Here's a few choice chunks of his editorial to give you the gist of what he thinks. Feel free to check out the whole thing at the source link below.
It certainly seems like the last two iPhones are simply playing catch-up to Android now. Additionally, Apple is catching a ton of negative press lately. What do you guys think? Could the iPhone 5 be the last big hurrah of the iPhone line? Did Apple "jump the shark"?Now, having had two years to plot and scheme, Apple's renowned designer Jonathan Ive has replaced the tiny 3.5in (8.9cm) screen with a slightly-less-tiny 4in (10.2cm) screen? Wow. Knock me over with a feather. What do you do with the rest of your time, Jony?
This is what happens when a company is too cheap to invest in research and development. Did you know that Apple spends far less on R&D than any of its rivals - a paltry 2% of revenues, versus 14% for Google and Microsoft?
No wonder the Android platform, where new models appear every week, now represents 68% of the smartphone market, up from 47% a year ago, while Apple slid to 17% over the same period.
In case you're bad at maths, let me work that out for you: Android's market share is now four times that of Apple. Four times!
Worse, despite all its bluster about innovation, Apple has become a copycat, and not even a good one. Why is Apple making the iPhone bigger? To keep up with the top Android phones. Phones that, mind you, Apple fanboys ridiculed at first...
Apple got where it was by taking bold risks. Now it has become a company that copies others and plays it safe.
A company that once was run by a product visionary now is run by a number-cruncher - chief executive Tim Cook, whose claim to fame involves running an efficient supply chain and beating ever lower prices out of Asian subcontractors and component suppliers.
To use a car analogy, six years ago the iPhone was like a sexy new flagship model from BMW or Porsche. Today it's a Toyota Camry. Safe, reliable, boring. The car your mom drives. The car that's so popular that its maker doesn't dare mess with the formula.
The big $1bn (£650m) patent "victory" over Samsung made Apple look like a bully, and also raised awareness of how good Samsung's latest products are.
Apple seems less interested in blowing people away than it is in milking profit out of the existing lineup. At this Cook is doing marvellously well...
That's great for Apple's shareholders. But for customers, who cares? In terms of products, Apple has become the one thing it should never be. Apple has become boring.
Somewhere up there, I can hear Steve screaming.