Apple is misplaying the hand Steve Jobs left them, making themselves vulnerable to competition for the first time since iPod.
The company has always been at least one step ahead of the competition in hardware advancements and software experience.
It used to be that to switch to Android or Windows, you’d have to give up functionality, user experience and access to the latest and greatest apps. The switching cost to move to a competitor was very high.
Apple used this position to gain the upper-hand in partnerships — deal terms were often in their favor. It also gave them leverage on the consumer side.
We were more willing to tolerate buying new adapters for their Apple devices because the upside was worth it. This year, they doubled down on the “f*ck you” playbook instead of making major leaps in technology to bolster the position that allowed them to use the playbook in the first place.
Now, they’re making power moves from a weak position
In 2016, Android phones have surpassed iPhone with higher-resolution displays, better cameras, cloud features, waterproofing and early VR/AR — reducing the switching cost to Android.
Now, Apple is playing catch-up with competition. Yet, they’re still making FU playbook moves, like removing the headphone jack, further reducing the overall switching cost and chipping away at the faith of enthusiasts.
People are clinging onto their old Apple devices in fear of “what will they do next?” instead of writing blank checks excited for “what will they do next?!”
Android is also dominating global market share. The global market itself is reaching a saturation point, which means the biggest growth opportunities can be found in new platforms — an area in which Apple is behind and the competition is already moving on aggressively.
Apple has always been the leader in new technology platforms, from iPod to iPhone to iPad, but are nowhere to be found in AR, VR or self-driving vehicles beyond rumors. While Apple is rarely first, they have been the best and held their ground. Ask yourself now, if Apple does enter the VR/AR market, do you think they will be the best? My guess is your faith has eroded.
Apple Watch, the first product launch without Steve, was also the first not to move the needle. Since then, Apple events have become less exciting and more incremental, filled with unprecedentedly long and boring software demonstrations and underwhelming technology like TouchBar, HomeKit and HealthKit. Apple TV isn’t even 4K yet, while Roku is. Siri, which was first-to-market, has fallen behind Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
First appeared on TechCrunch. Click here to read more.