The title of this article makes you believe it will be a comparison between the current and former leaders of Apple. But I have already done this earlier, and therefore, I do not want to invite scathing attacks for a repetitive attempt. My efforts here are not to prove who is a better CEO, but to check if Apple has lost its charm, glory, and dynamism in the absence of Steve Jobs.
The latest ‘Show Time’ Apple event has brought an avalanche of criticism from all corners. A unanimous voice ranted that nothing was exciting about the event and the services Apple announced. Everybody noticed a lack of signature spirit of Steve Jobs. Some analysts also said that Apple surprised viewers and users by launching the unexpected: Apple Card. Before the event, everybody was talking about video streaming services; Apple too was keen to showcase its Apple tv+, but its credit card put other services in the shade.
To make the event a visual treat, Apple took inspiration from Hollywood’s retro cliffhangers, which start off with garishly colorful credit titles and a loud soundtrack. And then followed the promises and only promises. There is nothing that Apple can deliver tomorrow; a company known for its excellent delivery makes just promises.
Is it just one event that defines Apple’s charmless present? Perhaps not. There are many other things Apple needs to excel in to bring back its heydays.
Apple Under Tim Cook: Lack of Innovation, Missing Deadlines, Visionless, and No Life-Changing Product
The last gadget Apple introduced that showcased its innovative persona was Apple Watch. That was in 2015, and since then, Apple has never come up with something equally or more ground-breaking technology.
Apple has undoubtedly packed excellent features (SOS, ECG, fall detection and more) in its wearable device, but failed to make them available for the world; those features were limited for a few countries.
When Apple launched the iPhone 6, the company witnessed exponential growth in sales. After iPhone 6 and 6s, no other iPhone, except iPhone X, generated extremely brilliant sales for the company. iPhone 6 was Apple’s successful foray into the world of large-sized smartphones.
The company’s iPad line-up is the most messed up thing in the world of communication technology today. There is an iPad, iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro. Users are completely baffled by this proliferation of smart tablets. Instead of getting spoilt for choice, users feel they are bewildered.
Moreover, iPad seems to have peaked; agreed, it is a laptop killer and boasts features like multi-tasking and Face ID as well, but there is nothing radically new in the latest iPads released by Apple. Where is the sizzle and spark in Apple’s tablet?
Gone are the days when Apple could fulfill its promises of new product launch. It wouldn’t take more than 15 days to release the device post announcement. Now, the picture is different.
HomePod had also entered the store in February 2018 after its announcement in June 2017. This delay in product release certainly raises questions in the minds of users about Apple’s credibility. As mentioned above, consumers look up to Apple as a brand that delivers – whether it’s promise or product.
The first time in the history of Apple, the decision-makers have canceled a product, which was announced with immense enthusiasm. AirPower created high expectations among users of iPhones with a wireless charging feature.
In an emailed statement to TechCrunch, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio wrote, “After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards, and we have canceled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.”
This is a classic example of inefficient leadership without any clear vision. According to TechCrunch, the real problem with AirPower delay is engineering challenges related to laws of physics. The AirPower quickly becomes hot “because the 3D charging coils in close proximity to one another required very, very cautious power management.”
For Apple, it is an awkward situation as the company has recently rolled out the AirPods case, which can be charged wirelessly. This release has boosted hope that Apple’s next release could be AirPower. But now all hopes are ruined with the cancellation of AirPower.
When a single idea can change the lives of millions, it receives a humongous amount of appreciation from all corners. This happens with Apple Watch, which accounts for half of 18 million global smartwatch shipments in Q4 2018.
Apple Watch was first received as a fashion statement. However, later people realized its full potential as a health monitoring device. Currently, in its fourth edition, Apple Watch has emerged as the real hero, while smartwatches of other brands play character artists.
Enough of Apple Watch eulogy? Where is the next big thing from Apple? After its smartwatch, Apple has failed to supply any product that can change the way we have been living our life.
The company has long announced Apple Car and augmented reality (AR) glasses, but both products have not seen the light of day. Apple has confined the two behind strong doors of its ‘research and development’ department.
Since Apple is a hardware company, it has to bring something extraordinary now. A trillion-dollar giant has set huge expectations among the stakeholders and consumers. This is the time to show its real mettle. One must not forget that Tim Cook approved the Apple Car project in 2014 and assigned to vice president Steve Zadesky, who was poached from Ford, where he was a project in-charge.
Although Apple released its first AR software (ARKit) in 2017 and ARKit 2.0 last year, the company has not produced any dedicated AR hardware. About the release of AR glasses, the world has only listened to the rumors.
Where is the Vision?
Steve Jobs took Apple’s reins back in 1997, and his vision was very clear: it’s a company of crazy ones, who will create great products. Remember that
“Think Different” campaign? I like the copy of that TV ad that reads, “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
This was Apple’s vision; to create a company that becomes a trailblazer, a trendsetter in the industry. Creativity and passion were the pillars, on which leaders like Steve Jobs built this corporation.
Today, even after achieving the status of a trillion-dollar company, Apple seems to be visionless. The company is struggling to meet three challenges: product innovation, services business, and reinventing current products.
As mentioned above, engineers and product designers have not been able to come up with anything better than Apple Watch. The current line-up of iPhones (XR, XS, and XS Max) has nothing impressive. Apple has created unparalleled chaos in its iPads series – iPad, mini, Air, and Pro. Users are clueless as to which iPad to buy.
In 1997, Steve Jobs came back to Apple, and the first thing he did was to streamline its product range. Remove the unnecessary and make way for the essentials. This was his motto, and with this crystal clear vision, he pulled Apple off the chaos.
In its March ‘Show Time’ event, Apple declared its confirmed and upcoming TV shows. But this was just a promise Apple made in its event. Only time will tell when Apple is going to air those original shows on its Apple TV Plus. This delay in delivery was never part of Apple culture earlier.
If video streaming services are considered, Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu have established names. They are creating original content and broadcasting licensed shows for years. And by the time Apple creates its catalog, both the distinguished streaming services will have added perhaps hundreds of shows and movies to its kitty.
Apple has to understand the value of new products. Its iPhone sales show a downward trend, and this is the reason why the company is coming up with new services. But Apple has to maintain its brand as a hardware company. For this, Apple needs to work either on Apple Car or its AR glasses.
Steve Jobs has created such a big company that most Android fanboys begin to hate this company and are jealous of Apple devices simply because they cannot afford them. But in their efforts to troll and abuse Apple, they become brand ambassadors of the company. However, my question is: Does Apple still hold that status that garners attention, let alone abuse and trolls?
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Do you think Apple can recreate its magic in video streaming services? Share your feedback with us in the comment below.