I’m probably going to be overly dramatic with the following statement I’m going to make, but it’s true: I’m tired of hearing Tim Cook repeat how excited he is about 2014. We’ve heard so many CEOs repeat this over and over, and when the company’s 2013 line-up wasn’t much to get excited about, it’s honestly a hard glass of water to want to swallow.
I don’t know about you, but I’m mixed about Apple’s 2013 line-up. We knew that the iPhone wouldn’t get much more than an iterative update, which has been the norm from Apple in the last six models it’s launched of their smartphone, and even though the iPad line-up did get some interesting upgrades with the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display, that doesn’t change the fact that these are just more options to the same experience that Apple is pushing to the market.
Another thing I’m mixed about is iOS 7. I’m lately having a hard time actually believing that Apple made this. Surely it’s more aesthetically pleasing than previous versions of iOS, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s plagued with bugs. The last time I saw my iPhone reset itself out of the blue was when I had it Jailbroken, and now it does this very frequently. This, and the fact that iOS 7 is clearly not optimized to provide iPad users with a better experience are things to be disappointed about.
Overall, even though Apple products still sell like hot cakes, its mistakes in the user experience that the company is failing to provide to customers this year could lead to a tougher and not better 2014. Here are a couple of reasons why I believe the company needs to be realistic about their future:
Competition hasn’t just caught-up, they’re now better
It’s amazing how tables have turned recently. Two years ago, Android was much more aesthetically pleasing to users than iOS, but it sucked at providing the stability, reliability, and user friendliness that iOS would give their users. Today, even though iOS looks a lot better, its stability is questionable, and the frustration that any user gets after typing a long email and seeing their iPhone resetting itself before they’ve hit send, is bound to make a dent in the company’s reputation.
When it comes to hardware, you’ll notice that Apple is no longer running the ads of how great one-handed usability is on the iPhone 5S, since hey, you can get that same experience from a Moto X without compromise. When it comes to accessories, AirPlay is no longer a topic in Apple’s presentations, and that’s mainly because you can get a very similar experience for $35 with a Chrome Cast, and avoid the need to buy a $100 Apple TV.
Yes, competition is has not just caught-up, they’re better.
Apple’s price-points in mobile have begun to get stupid
I still chuckle when people call Apple products expensive since that really only applies to their computers, and even so, if you would load any Windows computer with the same specs as a Mac, I’m sure the Mac will be less expensive. When it comes to mobile, the iPhone will cost you the same as any flagship Android phone, and the same goes for most cases of the iPad. If you find the iPad expensive, try to remember what a clunky netbook would cost before the first iPad was announced, and then let’s talk.
That said, 2013 has shown an Apple that has completely lost touch with what a product should be priced. Every time I see the iPhone 5C, I try to figure-out why you should buy that phone. It’s stupidly priced, no matter how powerful it is. The Nexus 5 is much more powerful and much less expensive, and on the other hand, the iPhone 5S is barely $100 more expensive. There is seriously no point in buying this phone. The same can be said about both iPad mini models. At times when the Nexus 7 provides you with an amazing experience for $100 less than the iPad mini, and $200 less than the iPad mini with Retina Display, again, buying these products just doesn’t make sense.
Apple can ignore its competition all it can, but that won’t change the fact that it’ll come back and bite the company soon.
The bottom line
If Apple is excited about 2014 because its leadership team is planning to give us more products, like the iWatch for example, then it’s fair to assume they have good reasons to be happy. Sadly, the fact that the concept has not taken off by competitors means that there is just too much risk in basing excitement on an unproven product. Apple really needs to reconsider its iPhone and iPad strategies for next year if it plans to remain as popular as the company is today.
With the company’s reliability and attention to detail clearly gone in things like their software department, the price it’ll have to pay may not be seen today, but we should definitely keep a close eye at Apple’s bottom line next year. Apple could be as surprised as we will be once we find powerful competitors like Samsung and Google making a larger dent in the markets Apple helped develop.
What about you? Do you feel that Apple has done a good or a bad job in 2013? Leave us a comment.