Simplicity 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.