Apple has long been the king of smartphones, iPods and tablets… and let’s face it the technology industry as a whole. But if it doesn’t buck its ideas up there’s a good chance that this stay at the top won’t last. Here’s why…
It’s Getting Old
The first problem that I can foresee with Apple is that it gets boring. When people first started using iPhones and iPads they were exciting and new, but now iPhones and iPads are kind of old hat. Sure the iPhone 5 is coming out and it’s going to be technically more powerful and capable than the iPhone 4, but this is still only going to be a small tweak to what is essentially the same hardware running very similar software. While people once went ‘wow’ when they saw an iPhone, everyone’s far too familiar with it now for that to happen. So if you want something new and exciting are you really going to want just a slight incremental improvement to what you already own?
And unfortunately this is a big part of Apple’s MO – the consistency in design and, let’s be honest, stubbornness. So if they do decide to suddenly change in a big way they’re be lambasted for that too…
The competition against Apple is ever heating up and it’s probably fair to say that Apple is worried or they probably wouldn’t have gone to all the trouble to sue Samsung. Android phones have now overtaken iPhones in terms of unit sales, and more exciting competition is now also on the horizon such as the new Windows 8 platform that lets people use the full productivity of a PC on their device – and that’s pretty tempting. Meanwhile Galaxy has announced that they’re going to start using retina displays in their products removing one of Apple’s biggest benefits.
The other thing that Apple displayed in that law suit was a certain aggression that some people are viewing as monopolizing and bullying. Some pundits are suggesting that this will damage innovation as a whole and that some of Apple’s patents were more than a little controversial. This combined with their general refusal to let people share their files between platforms and other imposed restrictions has gradually turned a large number of users against Apple, so it’s important that they find some ways to win back followers before they experience a mass exodus. And with Steve Jobs gone they’ve lacked their public front man.
One thing that Apple have done well (one of many things to be fair) is to create a ‘walled garden’ and integrate all of their devices. There are clear perks to owning a Mac if you have an iPhone and if you’ll need one if you hope to develop apps. This has probably been a large part of the appeal of owning an iPhone or iPad for a while, but now that’s coming under heavy competition from other brands. For instance someone who owns a Windows 8 PC, Windos 7 Phone and Xbox may well be interested in getting a Microsoft Surface Tablet to complete that set. Meanwhile someone who has a smart TV with Android built in will probably download a few apps and see the appeal of getting to use those same apps on an Android phone for free as well. It could be that iOS’s exclusivity ends up being its Achilles’ heel.
Of course it’s a big claim to say that Apple’s days are numbered, and currently they have no real reason to worry. Still though, it’s a long fall from the top.