Like any other company, Apple has seen its share of ups and downs. When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak first founded the now tech giant they were a scrappy start-up trying to make ends meet. Very shortly after, the company grew into a viable and competitive force in its industry. Soon after that, it just didn’t seem that Apple could make anything consumers really wanted. Some have argued that the ousting of Steve Jobs in 1985 was the catalyst for its first real downturn.
With Apple in turmoil and barely holding on, Steve Jobs was brought back to the company which he co-founded and managed to return it to profitability during the late 90’s. Jobs also ushered in a new era for Apple in two ways. New products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad as well as a push for creative and unapologetic marketing. Armed with fresh new products and an aggressive push of a lifestyle that could be had with these products Apple has flourished.
Currently, Apple is listed as the most valuable company in the world and it also sits on huge cash reserves that put it in a good financial position. But even with all of its money, could the company be seeing its next downturn when it comes to customer satisfaction? While products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad have been strong leaders in consumer technology, could their luster be wearing thin?
Listening to consumers both online and in the real world, I get the impression that Apple’s mojo isn’t as strong as it used to be. While the iPhone X has some impressive and worthwhile new technology and upgrades, the price tag is certainly keeping some away. Even with those new tech bits, some users are finding it hard to justify leaving their older iPhones as they continue to work with little to no issue. Of course, there is the latest revelation that the company is slowing down older iPhones in order to optimize their performance. A claim that is being hotly debated on the internet. Some condemning Apple for doing such a thing and others fully understanding why the company believes it needs to be done.
“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices,” said an Apple spokeswoman. Apple said it changed its software last year for the iPhone 6, 6s and SE to “smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed.”
The company is also continually removing useful bits of I/O and irritating users by their abrupt and unapologetic choices. The headphone jack was ripped from the iPhone, everything but Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports were removed from MacBook Pro laptops and who knows what they’ll remove next.
In my real-world experience, talking and interfacing with users, friends, and family, I am often asked if there are other options besides the latest iPhone, iPad, or MacBook. When I ask why they want to leave the Apple ecosystem. The three answers I get most often are price, lack of innovation, and removing I/O that was useful to them. I usually also ask what’s keeping them in the ecosystem. The answer is almost always, investment in the apps.
But even that is not tying many users down anymore. Many are happy to start over in a new ecosystem as those ecosystems are becoming far better than they once were.
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m in no way saying Apple is dead and buried. But I do think that more users than ever are questioning the company’s decisions and wondering what’s on the other side. For its part, I think Apple is trying to make moves that will draw its users back into the fold. But will they succeed in time to avoid a second drastic downturn?
I’m interested on real Apple user’s perspectives here, what do you think? Has Apple lost some of its mojo? Are you still happy with Apple and what its doing? Or do you think this is just a minor lull that will be overcome quickly? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.