The Internet and Wall Street exploded yesterday when official word came down that iPhone sales are slumping. Investors tend to react negatively when poor earnings and bleak projections are released and Apple investors are no different in that regard. Apple stocks have dipped and the company quickly went into damage control mode calling out the troops in the media to help with misdirection. Headlines praising Apple’s 1 billion devices sold were hot on the heels of the headlines reporting Apple’s iPhone sales slump in an attempt to save the company’s public image.
While it is true that Apple has sold 1 billion devices that doesn’t negate the fact that sales of those devices were down and even Tim Cook predicts further decline. Apple defenders argue that iPhone sales are down but not by much, and a similar trend occurred in 2013 so perhaps Wall Street’s reaction was a bit of an overreaction. This has been Apple’s strategy over the past years anytime a negative metric tarnishes the company’s reputation: focus the public eye on the positive.
While indeed there are positives in the number of devices sold by Apple, the company cannot continue to ignore one glaring problem: lack of innovation. This is what is hurting Apple. With coffers overflowing, the company seems to be content watching others push new technologies then possibly jumping in if those technologies prove to be profitable. I admit the strategy has worked for Apple; waiting until public perception and acceptance of a technology is at a monetizable point and then acting. They also have a brilliant marketing team that can skew public perception to their favor making it seem like new technologies are Apple innovations when they aren’t, but you can only play that card for so long.
Apple needs to put the money they’re sitting on to good use and make the company’s innovative spirit relevant once more. I’m not here to bash Apple or make it seem like they’re a bad company. On the contrary, I would love to see Apple grow further but grow as a leader rather than a follower with a good marketing team. I think it’s fair as an Apple user to call them out on their bull rather than make excuses for them hoping that they’ll get their act together to become innovators again. I’m not content watching them add features to their operating systems that have been in use on other OS’s for years and you shouldn’t be either.
The media needs to stop treating Apple with kid gloves fearing they’ll be cut off from Apple exclusives and review units and have their toes held to the fire. No, the iPhone is not dead but its days as Apple’s bread and butter are coming to an end because there are other choices available that either match or exceed its former flagship position. It’s time for Apple to stop riding the coattails of the iPhone and become an innovator once more. It’s time for those profits to be reinvested into making visions into reality, and it’s time to put the marketing crutch on the shelf. It’s time consumers stop being hypnotized by Jony Ive presentations and brilliant videography and expect more than smoke and mirrors.
Google and Android continue to grow and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s time Tim Cook and his crew realize there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Consumers need choice and they need innovation. We all need Apple to jump back in and be a leader. Not because we should all want to buy their products, but because innovation and competition from multiple companies in a market can only be good for consumers no matter what platform you use.