Scot Finnie: Is Apple OK?
Computerworld - More than most technology companies, Apple lives and dies by how well it delivers innovative electronics, software and services. The company has weathered many ups and downs in the course of its history, but since 1998, Apple has been recognized as being bold, innovative and successful.
Those were the days between Steve Jobs' return and his death, in 2011.
Since Tim Cook took the helm, Apple has stumbled. Its stock peaked at over $700 in September 2012 and has spent much of 2013 down around $400, only recently moving to $500 territory. There's been a lot of criticism of the company by media, analysts and the financial community some of it warranted. Over the last two years, Apple's biggest new products have been the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini and the Retina MacBook Pro. The Retina display aside, they're all derivative and either play catch-up or, in the case of the iPhone 5, lag behind in both worldwide market share and leap-forward product innovation.
What's more, 2013 has been mighty thin in terms of Apple product launches. You have to go back to 2005 to find a year with fewer new hardware releases. (Beginning in January 2006 and throughout that year, the company released new Intel-based versions of all of its Macs.)
So, has Apple lost its mojo? Has it run out of innovative ideas? I believe that what we're witnessing this year is the end of the pipeline of in-the-works projects from the Jobs era. To be sure, there are plenty of other test-tube ideas Apple is developing that Jobs had a hand in. There has been a delay in 2013, but it's understandable. The first six months under a new CEO must have been a time of uncertainty for Apple employees. It gave them pause. Cook is nothing like Jobs, and that had to affect Apple's corporate culture. It's this adjustment period that resulted in a slow 2013.
As I write this, Apple's next unveiling, on Sept. 10, is the subject of much speculation. But it looks to be much ado about very little. Apple is expected to announce an iPhone 5S, said to be a minor refresh, with highlights being the inclusion of iOS 7 and fingerprint-scanner login authentication. It's also been widely reported a midrange-priced iPhone 5C will be available in multiple colors. Not a particularly exciting lineup. If unsubstantiated reports are true, things get somewhat better in October, when it's believed that Apple will introduce a thinner, lighter iPad 5 and a new iPad Mini with a Retina display. Somewhere along the way, Apple will also release a mild revision of OS X, called Mavericks. Beyond that, the rumors are hazy and a little surprising: iWatch (which may be more important as a decorous dongle for mobile payments than anything else) and an Apple-designed TV, dubbed iTV by the press.
If Apple doesn't have "one more thing" by June next year, it may be in trouble. The folks in Cupertino can't afford to rest on their laurels. But this is Apple we're talking about. The company hasn't blown it under Cook's tenure. It just hasn't done anything amazing yet.
And Cook is just one guy out of 41,700 talented Apple employees. Apple is OK. Besides, if there's any company that deserves the benefit of the doubt, it's Apple. It's too soon to count it out.
- Scot Finnie: The continuing evolution of Computerworld
- Scot Finnie: Can Microsoft make a comeback after Ballmer?
- Scot Finnie: Is Apple OK?
- Scot Finnie: A call for mobile innovation
- Scot Finnie: 5 tips for developing successful mobile apps
- Scot Finnie: Personal data syncing to the cloud is broken; let's fix it
- Scot Finnie: Where will IT be in 5 years?
- Scot Finnie: What needs to change in the mobile market
- Scot Finnie: The real CoIT
- Scot Finnie: Stuxnet was a wake-up call, but don't fall back asleep
Read more about Management in Computerworld's Management Topic Center.
- Mission Critical: Managing Mobile Applications & Content Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have become embedded in enterprise processes, thanks to the consumerization of IT and a new generation of...
- The Challenges and Opportunities of Mobile Application Development Nearly all business users now demand mobile devices--their own or company-owned--along with anywhere access to corporate applications and data. What turns mobile devices...
- Maintain Less. Create More. Spend less on maintenance and spend more time creating with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Read on to learn how Red Hat can help...
- Mobile First: Securing Information Sprawl Learn how the partnership between Box and MobileIron can help you execute a "mobile first" strategy that manages and secures both mobile apps...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different.... All Management White Papers | Webcasts