Archive, January 2019
By just a few days, Apple’s statement about cutting its sales outlook for its smartphones. Consequences : markets mess and financial and a storm of competitive intelligence analysis to understand how many the apple is bad.
The most sensible views, to try to intuit the response, are thought to be those that analyze the issue under the optics of the placement of the American giant in terms of product innovation and reliability.
With regard to the first aspect, the data clearly indicates that Apple, not only with regard to smartphones, is more than a decade that works towing, when not in reverse. It is a proponent of incremental innovations on its own products but as regards the satisfaction of non-existent or non-perceived needs, and that is radical innovations and new technological systems and paradigms, it is still in the early years of the century.
This macro-category includes the design and putting in line of iPhone, iPad and the reference ecosystem (for related services, first among which iTunes, side music, and App Store) : after this the nothing.
For a company that has the abstraction of ‘future’ as one of the strengths in the correspondence between transmitted image and perceived image (and transposed) by consumers, in a context of saturation of all the market sectors in which it competes, the impasse is equivalent to an inexorable decline.
To this you must add a slow incremental innovation and many times qualitatively worse and more expensive than competitors : Siri, iCloud, iTunes (on all media channels), AppleTv, HomePod are far from their competitors, as the performance and services offered. They cost, directly or indirectly, always at least 30% more.
A detached digital ecosystem is competitive if performing : the high performance allowed by membership justifies a price differential but those of Apple, currently, do not justify anything. On the contrary, most of the time to find satisfactory solutions must be sought elsewhere, paying almost always less.
The cost of the company’s products is the bridge to address the second theme of analysis, the reliability. A higher price is felt justified if you are present with innovation and / or performance and / or reliability. The first two Apple features lost them over time, the third is on the right track.
The signals are escaping through facts of which inexplicably Apple has become the leading player. Examples are the U.S. class action about the MacBook keyboard or the punishments inflicted on the programmed obsolescence of the devices ; the unexplained slowness with which whole classes of products (MacMini for example) are left to themselves for years, despite not negligible market shares ; the bugs of operation and safety afflict the different OS’s, which evidence is now largely left at the external third-party initiative ; the farraginous interaction between the components of the ecosystem ; a customer service, once flagship for competence and readiness, and now at the level of any call center with a customer-rebound function.
In other words, the current Apple, as well as being no longer a proponent of innovative revolution, proposes an ecosystem that nothing has to do with how much it was even 10 years ago as market positive distinguishing features : the only thing that remains the same is the highest price that distinguishes the whole range, material or immaterial, compared to competition.
It is therefore agreed with those who think that the current negative predictions about the sale of iPhones are the latest in Cupertino’s problems and that the real trouble is coming. In 1997 the company was in worse dire straits than the current and the return of Steve Jobs settled the whole thing : they were other times, other the causes of instability and, above all, other the players involved.
This post was originally published on January 12, 2019, in Italian version on www.thescanner.info .This is adaptation of a neuronal Italian/English AI translation by IBM Watson.