iPhone 5: watershed moment for Apple
Apple, the world’s most valued technological company that propelled itself to the zenith of industry domination in a relatively short time, is at an unique advantage to observe two significant things, thanks to its lofty position: on one hand, it can look down and feel a bit elated by the plight of the giants dwarfed by its success, particularly SONY and Nokia; on the other hand, Apple can sense what’s it like, in the event of a potentially disastrous fall from such a height due to unforeseen circumstances.
With a share price that went past $600 mark and a mountain of cash – much more than what is in its own government’s coffers - at its disposal, Apple’s success continues unabated as the demand for its two impressive devices – iPhone and iPad – grows exponentially across the globe. In this context, there is nothing to get in the way to hinder the phenomenal accomplishment of the company – at least for now. As far as die-hard Apple fans are concerned, nothing can go wrong with the strategies adopted by the company in pursuit of its success. In short, Apple is unstoppable.
However, Apple knows very well how both the Roman Empire and the British Empire succumbed to the inevitable, despite having had their heyday in history for long periods of time. In corporate sense, Apple is also fully aware of the predicament of two technical giants which dominated the world of electronics and mobile devices for decades – SONY and NOKIA.
History is awash with ample examples that show how success bred complacency and how the latter simply carved out a short-cut to gradual extinction.
I am a loyal Apple fan too and immensely enjoy its iPhone and iPad, two of the most sought-after devices produced by the great company.
With the iPhone, as most of users, I can make phone calls, send texts, read emails, check my local weather update once in every three hours using the Met Office App, use a GPS App or maps to find my location or plan the route to my destination – by car, using public transport or on foot with impressive accuracy, get latest stock market updates, read a book with crystal clarity, listen to music or an audio book on the go and so on.
The whole list can be repeated in the comfort of home using the iPad, which, in my own case, is more or less a reading device: surf the web while lifting the cover in a split second to read newspapers, magazines, watch videos or listen to music. In addition, its facetime feature is immensely useful while making video calls on the internet regardless of my geographical position on the globe.
Although, they are on the dearer side in pecuniary terms, Apple products are value for money. Every single Apple product carries the vision of its late co-founder, Steve Jobs, in material form; offering optimal service to company’s customers through its products.
However, when I had to make a decision very recently whether to go for the New iPad or a laptop, I went for the latter: 500GB hard drive; 8MB Ram; i7 processor and other hardware essentials that go with them. The performance was amazing and I could do quite a few things that I couldn’t do with my iPad: use the web browser of my choice, not necessarily Safari; use flash contents without any hindrance; listen to music and videos using any format of my choice, to name but a few. So, there is nothing to fret over the choice made by me.
I know some of my friends, when faced with making a similar choice, went for a laptop as well. These are decisions made, not on impulse, but after careful thoughts; we were fully aware of the fact, that even the temporary abandonment of your favourite brand always leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
My friends and I joined a significant group of Apple fans who were not very impressed with its latest iPad, the New iPad, just because it has features, which its immediate predecessor, iPad 2, did not have: 3.1 million pixels on retina display; A5X chip with quad core graphics; 5MP iSight camera etc.
We were not lured by iPhone 4S to ditch iPhone 4 either, just because it has Siri – speech interpretation and recognition interface; in our opinion, the function of Siri is counter-intuitive: you verbally instruct Siri to type in a message for you, only to look at the message just to make sure Siri has done the job as you really expect of it to do – a waste of time – provided Siri understand your dialect very well – which is not the case in some parts of Britain, let alone in the world.
Although, iPhone 4S and New iPad did not live up to our expectation – and that of millions of other Apple fans – it does not stop us from looking forward to its next big product, most probably the new iPhone.
The internet is buzzing with speculations this week about the way the new iPhone will be introduced by Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple: some say it will be called iPhone 5; according to Korean sources, it is going to have a liquid metal casing which will make the phone wafer-thin and resistant to damage due to falls; in short, the improvements seem to be of cosmetic nature rather than that of functional.
Since Apple is always tight-lipped about its products, we do not know for sure what new features that the new iPhone is going to have. However, if speculators prove to be right – the features are just cosmetic - the company is going to set alarm bells ringing among its core investors and loyal fans, in particular and across the whole sector, in general, for not taking the flame of innovation beyond the general track of imagination.
The world wants Apple to surprise us, not just to progress in a linear manner from ‘A’ to ‘B’ and then to ‘D’ with a brief stop-over at ‘C’. This is what Steve Jobs, its late co-founder, used to do since he rescued the company from the brink of collapse in late 90’s. He did not just become a legend; he earned it.
Some argue that Apple has the same team which used to work with Mr Jobs in producing wonderful products – which is true; so have both Sony and Nokia -the brilliant engineers who have excelled in their respective fields by introducing Walkman, CD, DVD, PlayStation and user-friendly mobile phones respectively.
However, the competent professionals of the latter could not prevent the two electronic giants from getting into catastrophic downward spirals despite their unique skills: S&P just downgraded Nokia to junk status; SONY recently announced fourth successive annual loss which ran into billions with the axing of thousands of jobs worldwide.
The struggle for survival of the two-once-great companies is a wake-up call for Apple. Since it does not have the man with the design vision at the helm anymore, it has to find the nearest substitute very soon, before its competitors are catching up with the sales curve.
In this context, Apple cannot afford to get the new list of features of iPhone 5 wrong; because, it contains all the psychological ingredients to make it company’s watershed moment.
- Asian Tribune