Is Apple becoming just another tech company?

(A little off topic, but on my mind)

The answer is Yes; Apple is becoming just another tech company.

As I look one year out from the death of Steve Jobs, there are clear signs that Apple is not the same company that Steve Jobs ran for so long.  I’m not sure it even could be the same company given the force of Steve’s personality.  As a former hater, but now loyal customer of the company, I see in so many ways an Apple that Steve would never have allowed to exist. You may wonder what exactly had changed in the past year.  After all, it’s rumored that Steve had a hand in many of the 2012 wave product decisions.

I’m not an Apple investor, but if I were, I’d be looking at the company with a cautious eye to see if Tim Cook can bring back some of the mysticism that surrounded the company when Steve ran the show.  Apple is currently in the extremely fortunate position f being able to charge prices that include high margins while competitors, such as Amazon, are forced to sell devices at cost and make up the revenue through the sale of content.

Here are a few things that I believe support my statement that Apple is becoming just another tech company:

  • The iPad Mini.  Rather than simply copy what I wrote on this subject, let me link you to my thoughts on this device.  Summary: Apple doesn’t release inferior products into crowded spaces, but that’s exact;y what they’ve done with the Mini.
  • iOS Maps.  I believe that iOS Maps will be an incredible tool… when it’s done.  It was clearly an unfinished product in iOS 6, but, ignoring the user experience, Apple foisted it upon the unsuspecting world and the world howled in rage.  Apple is not known for releasing beta software into production, but that’s what they did with Maps.  Anyone with half a brain could have figured out what would happen when Apple—the company that practically defined quality for so long—released a terrible version of an increasingly critical application.
  • Recent advertisements.  Apple’s advertising using to be compelling, message-driven and information.  In the past year, for just about every product launch, it’s just a beauty shot of the product with some guy with a sleepy, boring voice talking about how magical it is.  C’mon, Apple!  You can do so much better!  You’ve proven that you can do great advertising, so do it!

What we’re seeing is a product that used to place the user and place excellence at the forefront of what they did.  Today, it seems like product cycles and reactionary tactics coupled with poor advertising and slipping quality control are driving Apple toward simply being another Silicon Valley tech company.  Sure, Apple does and will always have a very loyal following, but if the company keeps going down this road, it will become increasingly difficult for them to compete.

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