Friday, March 15, 2013

Apple woes

A quick glance at Apple's share price now shows USD450 bucks a share. Thats a long way down from less than a year ago when Apple was trading at nearly USD750.

People are starting to say the same things that I was saying a few months ago - what is Apple going to do different from the past, to make their products desirable again. Apple themselves is sending out reassurances to the public with Tim Cook saying things like new products will be launched and promising shorter release cycles for new products. There have been rumors of lighter iPads, bigger iPhones and even an iWatch.

Will any of these increasingly desperate looking maneuvers work? After all, what has Apple done in the past to make their products desirable in the first place? Was it to copy what other companies were doing and releasing products faster to meet customer demand and competitor moves? The answer is no.

Steve Jobs understood that his purpose was not to build stuff that people wanted. His magic was to build stuff that people thought was crazy and did not feel they wanted. I still remember five years ago when the iPhone was launched. Apple a phone company? Bah. And a phone without a keyboard? Like what was that about?

I guess the Apple boffins would be thinking hey, we've done a phone, what else can I get consumers to buy and I guess a watch is a great idea since most people use watches and phones on a daily basis. Do I think an iWatch is a good idea? You know what, I think it would appeal to boffins but I dont get a sense that it would catch on in a big way. I could be wrong though.

I personally think Apple will lose the Phone and Pad war. Samsung's copy drones will just copy the heck out of anything Apple comes up with. Apple will become a middling USD200 dollar company soon. However, Apple has bales of cash in its war chest. If I were Tim Cook, I would be looking to move to another green field to apply Apple's transformation and design genius to.

If I were to give a suggestion to Apple on what would work, it would be for some iCar accessories. Cars are notoriously sucky when it comes with user interfaces and interior design and some manufacturers just do not get it. Like have you seen the interior of the latest luxo barges e.g. Jag XJ, Cadilac etc. A lot of wood, a loot of leather and outdated looking dials and clocks. Apple's expertise on UI would transform how we would interact with a car. Can you imagine a really large iPad like screen in the dashboard area in the middle of the car? Cars of the future would be like the deck of the Starship Enterprise with just a few panels and could be operated using "touch". Now that would cool won't it? Apple, are you listening?