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Apple is lacking simplicity; the key for dominating the market

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Apple logoSimplicity is Apple’s reset button when things get a little too complex, but it seems the button is broken, and the company isn’t sure what to do. Apple hasn’t lost its innovation as many are claiming; they have an arsenal full of creative people who are coming up with ideas everyday. The company is simply transitioning, but it seems with each questionable move they make, another issue arises.

When Ken Segall–a former creative director at TBWA/Chiat/Day and later a consultant to Apple–released his book called Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success, he ran through many scenarios of his interactions and observations of Steve Job’s Apple and how simplicity was a key part of almost every single meeting and relationship that the company had.

Earlier this year, Segall mentioned that Apple may have screwed up the iPhone naming system and, as a result, made it obvious to consumers that the “S” model iPhones provide only incremental updates in terms of hardware and software. This is something that can harm sales of the iPhone in the long run, especially if these releases become a pattern.

Apple has also experienced a major management shakeup, with iOS chief Scott Forstall—along with two different retail chiefs—leaving the company in a two year period. This makes the process of simplifying Apple’s retail very challenging because executives have to take on roles of other key people at the company. As a result, it is likely hard for Apple to take on even more projects and creative opportunities.

Apple released Siri and Maps, both of which both turned out to be duds that exposed their lapse in making smart decisions regarding software release timing. Apple isn’t known for half-baked products, but recently consumers are beginning to question this. Segall mentions in his book that when a company begins to operate with calculation instead of honesty, the relationships they have are managed, not nurtured. He goes on to note that these are the types of relationships that turn out to be rocky. Steve Jobs was the one that helped nurture and build the process of simplicity into Apple’s structure, calling the company “the world’s biggest startup” at one point. It is the lack of this simplicity that has left Apple open to the cold grasp of complexity. Simplicity is the key to staying organized, updated, and relevant in today’s vast market of smartphones, tablets and other portable devices.

Perhaps it is the management style of Tim Cook that has brought this very corporate nature to Apple. As a result, product announcements and releases are beginning to look very disorganized and untimely. Apple still has a lot of work to do to regain some consumer confidence, the same kind that was seen when Apple introduced the iPad. At that point, consumers trusted Apple’s opinion on tablets because of the previous success of the iPod and iPhone.

Now, Apple appears to be disorganized and customers are not sure what to go on anymore.

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3 Comments

  1. Are you effing serious?!
    This article sounds like it was written 6 months ago and as such a reproduction of bullshite spin by Apple haters. The recent WWDC announcements prove Apple is still number 1 and invented the word innovation.
    Cock off and write done FACTS.

    Anonymous
  2. I totally agree with this article! Apple should have never released Siri, Maps, or any of their iterative updates to the iPhone. Steve Jobs is the only person known to man to create useful and likeable technology; without him humanity is doomed! Let’s get really angry about a few minor issues and say that the blame falls on the guy who’s in charge of the entire company.
    But seriously, is there anyone who could possibly do a better job at running Apple? My thought is no, so stop trying to pull extra ratings by criticizing an excellent CEO

    Kswitzerland
  3. Some interesting points that are well made.

    I think there is also some sense that apple had lost its way over the last two years or so and was relying too much on the past and the good will of customers. And ultimately the buyer is always right.

    One easy example is the focus on just one size iPhone, when in their other products such as iPods, iMacs and MacBooks they support at least two physical sizes. Another example is the way they let key software such as Pages or Apperture languish without significant update for 4 years. iOS has been a similar example until the current beta of 7.

    Choices give customers confidence that the company cares about different needs. And that lack of confidence is one of the things reflected in the current share price of Apple.

    There seem to be signs that some of these things are changing. Perhaps by next year we will see more of the ‘old apple’ that was more universally seen as leading and innovating.

    However there is also a legacy of the last couple of years of relative inflexibility, in that, anecdotally, Apple seems to have much of its cool factor with University and College age students. In Australia at the two Universities I am aware of, there is peer pressure that iPhones are not cool, being locked down and closed by a money making, tax avoiding machine etc. if you must have an iPhone it needs to be Jailbroken. In these Campuses iPhones are also seen as being for “oldies” and children. One of my friends son’s refused one saying he would be ridiculed. Fair or not, “coolness” is a fickle thing, and loosing it will be hard to gain back.

    Anyway… Food for thought…

    Geoff C