I am proud to exclusively present the following Guest Post from Mariana Ashley:
Apple is one of the most recognized brands around the world, and, at least according to a recent Barron’s survey, one of the most respected. Still, not everyone is Apple crazy, as an earlier post about why people love to hate Apple indicated. Apple is always in the news, so I knew something was up when I saw the phrase "Mac-lash" being bandied about on the Internet over the past few days.
Several news outlets used the term "Mac-lash", so let’s look at one such article, published in the UK newspaper The Independent. The thrust of this and other related articles is that the Apple business model may be unsustainable in the long-term. Experts cite a growing discontent from not just developers and publishers, but customers, too. Quoting UK journalism professor Paul Bradshaw, The Independent article notes:
"I’ve been a consumer of Apple products for a while and I’ve very definitely decided not to get an iPad. Apple is increasingly closed and controlling and I think with the iPad they’ve crossed a line to a place where the usability that Apple is so famous for is being undermined by the lack of adaptability. There are so many things that you can’t do with content on an iPad that it makes for quite a poor user experience if you are anything other than a basic user."
Basically, the argument goes that Apple products differentiate themselves by (1) portraying itself as something of luxury item, (2) portraying itself as an "alternative" or "rebellious" product, (3) justifying higher prices by delivering a generally higher quality product , (4) being a closed system in which everything is designed to get you to buy more Apple products.
With the iPad, Number (1) became less relevant, as prices of many of their products fell such that way more people can afford them, in the process losing some of the snob appeal. Same goes with Number (2); now that too many people own Apple gizmos and gadgets, their iconic 1984 commercial seems laughably ironic. Number (3) still holds, and Number (4) is what is angering a growing number of people.
Those who argue that the closed, rigid, some would say almost "old school" business tactics, in which collaboration is insular and products don’t adapt across different platforms, puts Apple at a disadvantage with its competitors like Google. And Number (3), the idea that Apple products are still superior, easy to use, secure, and are generally of a higher quality is what Steve Jobs says makes Apple better.
Jobs noted in a statement last October that open systems aren’t always better, and he attributes his products’ superiority precisely to the way he runs his business, despite it being somewhat reactionary in a climate in which "open" is the hottest buzzword. Detractors say that Apple’s success in terms of delivering hot, in-demand products, is largely attributed to Jobs’ creative genius itself, and that once he goes, Apple will go down with it.
What do you think? Is Apple’s future secured, or will it have to change in some ways to keep up with the competition?