Apple is one of the most profitable consumer companies around today, so it might seem odd to think about what Apple must do to survive, but it is a valid concern. With Steve Jobs gone, Apple has entered a new age and the future of this ingenious company could very well be in jeopardy.
Some people mocked Steve Jobs for some of his eccentricities at Apple, but it was these exact concerns and rules that helped to get Apple to the front of the pack and stay there. How else can you explain a company that makes laptops, desktops, phones, and tablets that are often double the price of their competition but still outsell many of those exact competitors? The times ahead for Apple can be great or they can be bust, and it’s all up to a few major decisions to make sure the company heads in a new but equally great direction.
With the newest release of iPhones, Apple ventured into a category it really never has before. The new iPhone 5C is a brand-new iPhone aimed at a simpler, less-expensive market. Usually Apple just lets their older devices fill this void, but the iPhone 5C shows that Apple has this market in mind.
To stay competitive Apple needs to employ this idea across the board. Apple could dominate the markets in laptops and desktops by adding entry-level devices. Some may say that the MacBook Air and 13” Macbooks are the entry level, but with Windows machines often costing $600 or less, a good sub-$800 laptop would do wonders for this market.
By adding more devices that are lower in price Apple could hang on to their part of the market and add an entire other sector. A slower, smaller, and cheaper iPad could make Apple millions in App Store purchases alone.
With entry-level devices comes the need for the expensive items to be more elite. Small price increases in the current models will not only get more revenue, but will help push the idea of exclusivity that Apple has become known for.
In recent years Apple has converged their MacBook designs to all feature the aluminum unibody. While this is a very stylish and professional look, it does nothing to help the owners of the more expensive computers feel exclusive. People are driven by their emotions and feelings, so why not play into this and allow someone to feel special that they have a higher-priced laptop?
With more elite items, Apple can deliver on that feeling that helped sell so many iPhones, iPads, and MacBook Pros over the years.
New and Innovative Products
This is where Apple really needs to step up their game. There has not been a new and innovative product released since the original iPad. Every release since then has been a refresh of an existing product. Smaller, faster, better-looking devices are great, but the wow factor that really gets people talking is new and innovative products.
To prove this, look back at the fanfare around the release of the iPhone 5C and 5S versus the launch of the original iPad or even the iPad Mini. The same goes for the initial launch of Apple TV. When brand new products come out Apple fans go crazy. Without this release of totally new products, Apple could very well start to lose steam and become complacent.
iOS and OSX Convergence
This is something people have been talking about since for a long time now. More and more iOS features have been sneaking into OSX and with the release of OSX Mavericks even more iOS apps and features are making the jump to the big screen.
Some of the features that OSX and iOS currently share are the Notification Center , Find My iPhone (Mac), and iMessage. In Mavericks Maps, iBooks, Safari Features, and others join in on the iOS party.
Apple needs to converge these two operating systems even more to give a unified experience. This will not only help people with both iOS and OSX devices learn their systems better and easier, but could help drive purchases of additional devices. If you have an iPhone, why not buy the computer that works the same way, and vice versa. The easier devices work together the happier people are. When people are happy, they spend money.
What Does It All Mean?
While a lot of people don’t like Microsoft and their Windows Phone, it’s easy to see that Microsoft knows what is going on and what the future holds. They are trying to unify the experience across devices. Their problem is that no one likes the experience that is being unified.
With the love that iOS and OSX receives, it makes sense to unify them. The same goes for making lower priced entry-level devices. The more people love Apple, the more they will sell.
At one time Apple basically had a monopoly on smart phones and tablets since they were the only ones making these in the way we see all smartphones and tablets today. Now, there are many choices and as those choices grow, Apple will lose market share unless they are proactive and do something about it.
It might be a little harsh to say Apple has to do anything to survive, but if they become complacent, they are sure to fall at some point. Apple will survive if their innovative history comes back and becomes the focus once again.
I can’t see Apple marching according to your tune perhaps you should dispense some advice to MS, Blackberry or Nokia, I am sure they will appreciate it.
The core of the article is about Apple going back to what made them so popular. Elite items and innovative new products. If they want lower priced items they need to be separate from the elite items.
Why would Apple abandon strategy that has propelled and kept them on top for your strategy that has resulted in the tanking of the rest of the industry?
You need to start paying attention to history and current events. Geez
I believe I am suggesting they move more towards their initial strategy and keep elite items elite. As of today Apple is cutting orders for the 5C because it’s not the elite model and not low priced. (https://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/16/us-apple-5c-idUSBRE99F08J20131016).
Innovative products are what put Apple on the map and yet there hasn’t been a new and innovative product since the original iPad. If Apple doesn’t step this up they’ll be left behind.
Apple is thriving. They don’t need anyone’s advice on how to survive.
One thing Apple has been smart about is not “racing to the bottom” in an attempt to compete with the cheapest competitors. Doing so might increase short term market share in terms of unit sales. However profit margins and/or quality would be compromised. In the long term, it would be a bad idea. Apple does not need to offer a product that meets everyone’s budget as long as there are sufficient customers for what they do make — which seems to be the case.
As far as going in the other direction, Apple is already viewed as making “elite devices”. There is no need for them to go further upscale. Apple caters to a rather large “sweet spot” of customers where they can balance market share and profit margin.
No other company besides Apple is expected to regularly revolutionize personal electronics. And it is not necessary for their survival. Apple will eventually release new and innovative products at their own pace. In the mean time, they are doing well by keeping current with regular incremental enhancements.
While there is no question that data interchange between one’s devices is important, and will continue to improve, the notion that OS X and iOS should “converge” ignores the essential difference between keyboard/ pointer based devices and multitouch handheld devices. The whole reason the iPad was successful was that unlike previous tablets, Apple was willing to abandon the traditional computer user interface. It’s painful watching Microsoft fall into the trap of trying to merge the two different control methods with Windows 8. People are not happy with the results.
In summary, your suggestions are unnecessary and ill-advised.
Apple already has a lower line when it comes to iPhones. I suggest that instead of making an older phone free, they make a phone specifically for this price point and make it look totally different. This keeps the elite status of the iPhone 4S while getting a cheaper phone in there.
In regard to iOS/OSX convergence, it is already slowly happening. the Mac has “natural” scrolling, multiple gestures, as well as the iOS features I listed in the article. The change is coming already, I am mostly just agreeing with it.
I would imagine in the near future you’ll see a touch-screen Macbook air, which will start to blur the lines between Macbook and iPad.
It’s just nonsense that Apple needs to reach the entry-level market. Jobs would turn in his grave hearing that rubbish. Apple could care less about entry level cheap garbage products. Think BMW.
It’s funny that you mention BMW, as they are one of the reasons I think Apple must do this. BMW recently came out with the 1-Series as their entry-level model and uses Mini Cooper as their other model. The same goes for Audi and VW as well as Lexus and Toyota.
If you make the lower, entry-level brand different enough the higher brand gains more appeal. Apple already does this, but with their older phones. Why not make a free iPhone that’s new and different instead of relying on the 4S to fill this gap?
I don’t think “elite” is the right word. Apple hasn’t chased the luxury or “high end” market so much as they’ve chased design perfection. Think about how the iPod was marketed, not to mention the various models. As far as history goes, the original Mac was supposed to be “the computer for the rest of us.” It was only Jobs’s unwillingness to compromise (and his inability to settle on a feature set) that wound up pushing the price out of reach of most consumers.
If anything, Apple has gotten in trouble when it has deliberately courted design for design’s sake. Think the absurd 20th Anniversary Mac or the Mac Cube.