I recently read an article about the situation at the stock market regarding the Apple stocks. They are falling and the dependence on the iPhone itself was mentioned as a factor for this in the article. But there's another reason why Apple may lose its status as a top tech company in the future and it's innovation.
Innovation matters, also for Apple
Apple is literally a synonym for innovation. The company invented the desktop interface that can be controlled with a computer mouse, then revolutionized the mobile phone and some years later the brought the touchscreen into our hands with the iPad. The products are a status symbol and come with the feeling of holding more than a simple tech device in your hands. Apple also built an awesome, easy to use operating system. Macs are used in creative agencies because the devices enable the user to work without being distracted by blue screens cough or long installation processes. But in my opinion Apple failed to set new standards or change the way we are doing things in the last years. Since the iPad there were no real innovations. I mean there is the fingerprint scanner and the pressure-sensitive display but I would call these “new features” and not “innovations”. Also the new 5k Retina iMacs are not a reason to run the stores and buy them.
What other companies do to be innovative
Here are some companies that really pushed innovations to their limits:
- Tesla & Toyota
Tesla & Toyota
Tesla is the most impressive car manufacturer at the moment and pushes self driving cars and electric drives forward. It's amazing what Tesla cars are already capable of. Toyota on the other hand is leading car manufacturer for fuel cell cars and the first cars were already sold.
Just one word: drones. Amazon Prime Air is a project where Amazon tests the delivery via drones which will also be one of the big things coming in the next decade. Also Amazon works on making package delivery better and better with same-day delivery which is quite impressive. For me as a web developer it's also awesome to see which services Amazon offers with it's AWS (Amazon Web Services).
Last but not least: Google. This company surprises me every time I read news about them. Let's talk about some of the things this internet company was working on in 2015. Self driving cars are the next big thing and Google is one if the leaders in pushing the technology forward that makes it possible to drive from A to B without driving on your own. Besides this they work on making internet accessible for everyone by sending balloons into the stratosphere. This project called Loon is an exciting new step in connecting the whole world and make communication as easy as possible.
So what about Apple?
The problem: Apple seems to work on their products but not on thing that will revolutionize anything. I mean Apple is very strict about keeping new things secret but why could they do? If you believe in reports Apple planned to work on a new TV, self driving cars but stopped working on them. Apple is a very computer and mobile device-centered company and it would make more sense to work on things they have a clue of.
The quality of Apple software
Walt Mossberg recently published an article about the quality of Apples core applications like iTunes, Mail or Photos. Years ago Apple was the first company to mention if you talked about high quality and - very important - reliable software. Mossberg sums up the current state of Apple software perfectly:
In the last couple of years, however, I’ve noticed a gradual degradation in the quality and reliability of Apple’s core apps, on both the mobile iOS operating system and its Mac OS X platform. It’s almost as if the tech giant has taken its eye off the ball when it comes to these core software products, while it pursues big new dreams, like smartwatches and cars.
And this is exactly how I feel about Apple software. I own a MacBook Pro for about three and a half years now and this device crashed due to software issues more often than my Windows PC. It's the opposite of what I expected. I wanted a reliable laptop to work with but instead I got an operating system that is buggy, unreliable and I spend way too much time fixing the software. One of the best examples of awful software made by Apple in California is iTunes. I have never seens such a horrible software that you are meant to use for syncing all your mobile devices. Every time I want to sync some music to my old iPod Classic the horror begins. It's not just that iTunes takes it's 20 seconds to start and load information and covers for just 5000 tracks. It's also the whole management process for the devices which makes me feel uncomfortable every time I have to use the software.
The conclusion about Apple's future
If Apple does not publishes any products or projects that are real innovative and focus back on quality than on pushing new “features” to their software they will lose their status as a top tech company in no time. It's essential for a tech company to be innovative; to publish products or software that simply amaze the people or change the way we live or work instead of releasing a new phone with some minor features every year. Apple should want to be the company it was 10 to 20 years ago: a rebel, the leader in quality and design. They have to push forward with innovative products nobody expects to be developed and not following the market.
Another interesting article about the Apple software quality: Apple takes its eye off the ball: Why Apple fans are really coming to hate Apple software
Article picture by mattbuchanan