No longer beleaguered: Apple is Apple again

You know that moment when you're watching a baseball game, the winning team stumbles and you and the rest of the crowd simply sense the nature of the game's about to change? That's what's happening now to Apple [AAPL].

[ABOVE: In a format that strongly reminds me of presentations by other companies, Samsung introduces its Gear watch thing in a lengthy and really rather dull presentation video. You probably won't want one though.]

Love or loathe

The company has been at the receiving end of tough treatment for months -- call it tough love or Apple hate, but that's the way it has been. I called it when it began, it lasted for a very long time, but now I think we're about to see things change.

It's not just me who thinks this. Just listen to Jim Cramer on CNBC last night, when he said: "Don't you feel that shift in favor of Apple?" he said.

"It's changed. I think that Samsung suddenly becomes what we used to think of Samsung, and Apple has become what we used to think of Apple."

Suddenly Apple has its mojo back. It's funny -- it's part business education and part emotion but you can feel the story changing.

Just look at the patterned patter of poor publicity pounding Samsung at the moment. Look at all the revelations and the way they call into question that company's ethical matrix.

Then take a look at another constant Apple critic, The Street's Rocco. Now I'm not always a fan of that writer, but he makes a few good point in his article today, titled (and reflecting Apple's Fall is Apple's spring): "Again, Apple Proves It's Smarter Than a Dumb Crowd."

"As usual, that company [Apple] operates in the driver's seat, ahead of the game and set to succeed even if it fails," he says.

Changing times

Now take a look at what Cramer was talking about: the Samsung Gear iWatch thing. What Cramer and all the many reviewers who just don't see the point of that device are really asking the Korean company is how, given its market leadership and championship position, just how could it introduce a device that was so wrong?

Sure, Apple watchers know why Samsung rushed the thing to market after a mere year's R&D -- because Apple's about to define this market with the iWatch (and I'll nod to Pebble here). Samsung felt it had to show it could innovate too.

Except it didn't. And the people who write about tech really needed it to. They really needed Samsung to step up to the plate and justify its leadership position with a little "pie in the sky" creative innovation. It failed to recognize its moment, and such moments don't come along that often. Samsung stumbled in the game.

Managing change

What does this mean? It means the wheel's turned once again. The great circle of life has clicked forward one more notch and Apple, with its classic elegance and enigmatic, secretive charms, has quietly moved back into the innovation hot seat.

Almost like the company planned it. Almost like it put the time in. Almost like the company's management have executed extremely effectively in a tough climate.

During its tough times Apple made a few mistakes, suffered a lot of criticism, lost market share and share value, and all the while consistently took steps to address at least some of its critics, for example:

  • Working conditions inside its supply chain appear to have improved -- but have they elsewhere in the industry?
  • Its Maps app may have been flawed on launch, but the company's putting the cash in to improve it.
  • The company's new iPhones may have suffered a proof of concept security breach -- but Apple wasted little time in addressing this problem.

This new phase in the Apple story has a lot of value, particularly as we approach the release of OS X Maverick and the Macs that seem likely to accompany it.

Coming up soon also we can see the introduction of the Apple iWatch, which I anticipate will show Samsung Gear what time it is.

Google+? If you're one of those who likes to use social media and also happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?

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