Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Falling Apple

by Neil Chhabda

Between 2010 and 2011 Apple was a perfect, unstoppable juggernaut that dazzled everyone with its mastery of design. Stock prices soared past $700, and everyone perceived that Apple was the only company capable of this kind of total mastery. The iPhone 4 was an absolutely stunning piece of technology, the thinnest and fastest consumer smartphone at its time of release, and the first with a high-definition “retina” display. The first iPad revolutionized internet browsing, and I still maintain to this day that it is the best device for surfing the internet.
Fast forward to 2013 and Apple cuts the screen orders for its flagship iPhone 5 by almost 50% due to weak demand. Their share price has fallen to $457 and a company which once seemed invincible is looking weak and vulnerable. Personally, I feel this is down to two things; innovation and greed.
The reason Apple were so sucessful was because they were the company that all the other companies had to catch up to. The timeless iPhone 4 was the first of its kind, the hugely sucessful and revolutionary App Store was the first of its kind. Since then, Apple really hasn’t done much in terms of innovation. The iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 are the same phone as the iPhone 4 but with some hardware upgrades. Siri, Apple’s “intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator” is hugely dissapointing, very limited and easily confused. If you don’t belive me, search “siri fail” in YouTube, and you’ll be presented with thousands of videos. The iPad 1 and iPad 2 were, again, almost exactly the same. The only difference: two mid-range cameras and a standard harware upgrade. Therefore there has been a total lack of the incredible innovation that we’ve come to expect, and this is one of the key reasons why I believe Apple is declining.
Furthermore when Apple does attempt to innovate, they don’t quite come up with the finished product. Apple Maps is a prime example. Apple released an app with 3D maps, claiming it had revolutionised maps forever. When released, the app was universally panned. There were clouds over several locations, the 3D effect worked less than half the time, and the maps themselves had nowhere near the detail of Google Maps. Moreover, the app was just completely wrong at times. In my experience it claimed Luton was just outside Exeter. For me and millions out there, this was shocking. How could Apple put out such a flawed app?
In recent products, Apple has been even more disappointing. This is not because they are bad products but because they are based on already existing products that other companies had been producing for months. Apple arrogantly claimed they did not need to increase the size of the screen of their iPhone, despite the success of the Samsung Galaxy S2 and other smartphones with larger screens made by HTC and Nokia. Months later, they announced that the iPhone 5 would come with a noticebly larger screen, copying already released rivals, such as the Galaxy S3. Apple was a trend setter, but now it seems as if it is trying to catch up to other firms. This is again demonstrated by their most recent release, the iPad mini. This is a perfect example of Apple replicating other products such as the Kindle Fire, Google ASUS Nexus and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. From these examples, it’s not difficult to see why Apple’s sales are declining. In the time that Apple takes to “revolutionize” these products, the Samsung and Android alternatives are already selling. As a result, Apple gains a relatively small market share, and can’t reproduce the profits it had in 2010 and 2011 and this leads to a fall in share prices.
The second reason for Apple’s decline is greed. For the last couple of years, Apple has been re-releasing virtually the same products. Additionally, they have deliberately not put existing technology that they themselves have developed into their products. The iPad mini is a prime example. Over the last two years, Apple have integrated the “retina” display into every one of their products. So when the iPad mini was announced, it was expected to come with a retina display as standard, to be the ultimate mini tablet. But as we’ve seen with the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, Apple released a smaller iPad 2. Apple claimed that the reason it did not include a “retina” display was because it would make the device a little bit thicker. I personally feel that this is an outrageous reason. Especially when all of the iPad mini’s competiton have HD displays. This disappointed me greatly because not only have they released a product other firms have been selling for months but because the didn’t even try to make it spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, the iPad mini is a good device, but it’s not great. Furthermore, it’s obvious what Apple will do. The next iPad mini will come with a “retina” display and Apple will say it has revolutionized mini tablets. These will sell millions and Apple will make huge profits by expertly conning people. Evidently I’m not the only one that is disgusted by what Apple has become because according to CNET the iPad mini is struggling for sales.
Conclusively, I believe that Apple is changing in a way that is harming itself and its consumers. I believe that Apple make good products (there are about 10 in my household) but they no longer have any flair or panache, and nowadays are just copies of existing products. Moreover, they seem to be getting greedy and purposefully limiting their products in order to boost the sales of future releases. For these reasons, Apple continues to decline, but, if it can find its magic again and produce incredible products such as the iPhone 4, it will once again be the most valuable company in the world.

1 comment:

  1. I agree... partly. Yes apple have been declining VERY SLIGHTLY, but the fact remains that Apple are still a very important company with millions of users. Firstly, last year they passed 40 billion app store downloads, half of those in 2012 alone. If they have been declining why have they sold so many apps. Secondly in Q1(ending December 29th 2012) Apple had a record-breaking quarterly revenue of $54.5 billion, with a net profit of 13.1 billion. That's enough to buy Buckingham palace 13 times over. Not bad. Thirdly you said "Apple has been re-releasing virtually the same products", they were not really re-released. More re-advertised... re-started. This is because they are already ahead of their time in terms of technology. Everyone gets so excited because of all the research they are doing. Apple are currently investing flexible products, flexible glass and batteries etc. Imagine being able to fold up your iPad and put it in your pocket. Competition. Having to find new ways of being different and fighting law-suits is hard. For example Samsung. There has been a long on-going battle between Apple and Samsung. Apple might appear greedy but for good reason. If you came up with a great idea then someone used it to steal your customers by slightly adapting it, you would be annoyed. That's like writing an essay, someone photocopying it and putting their name on it, handing it in and taking all the credit. Lastly, I own a google nexus 7 and it is the biggest waste of time and money. I know people who have kindle fires as well, the only reason people buy these products is because they are cheap. They just do not feel or handle like and iPad or the new released iPad mini. You don’t pay for a brand with Apple, despite what many people believe. You pay for quality, design, innovation, excellence and a product that can change the world. Ask yourself, Do Apple still make products like this? Yes.


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