Has the Apple gone rotten?
19 September 2014 by Marketing Team
At FJG we like to think of ourselves as innovative and always looking for the next legal innovation. You might be tempted to say that in other words we like to think of ourselves as a little bit “Apple”. But should those associated words of ground-breaking and innovative amongst others, actually apply to the tech giant…….
When you think of Apple, what do you think of? You might think of the iPad, the iPhone and other ground-breaking products. You might think of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tim Cook and other visionary leaders. What you may not think of though, is the huge Apple marketing machine that oils the apple cogs. What you almost certainly won’t think of is the fact that Apple were not first to market with the smartphone, the tablet or the mp3 player.
The first smartphone? That would be the IBM Simon (I know, great name!). The first MP3 player? That’s the MPMan F10 (another catchy winner!). The first tablet? A little more ambiguous, but the concept was around for decades and the Microsoft Tablet PC was available over a decade before the iPad. The first smartwatch? Nope, not the Apple Watch you may have heard of, but The Pebble (a lot better than IBM Simon in the name stakes), released last year. The first contactless payment system? You may have guessed where this is going, and yep, it’s not the recently announced Apple Pay, with Google Wallet having started in 2011.
But, and this is a very very big but…. None of that matters, none of it at all. What Apple did each and every time, was to make them appear to be the best. None were first and you could say none were visionary products like you might have believed before reading this article. But they were all great. They were all incredibly easy to use, accessible, high quality, well made products. But then so was the Palm Pre….
Never heard of it? Thought not! The Palm Pre, released in 2009 was a widely acclaimed smartphone from PDA makers Palm that was critically acclaimed across the board, described by Tech Radar for instance as “a better choice for savvy computer users than the Apple iPhone”. The software was so good that LG now use a version of it in their 2014 smart TV’s…… so why have you never heard of it?
For one, it may have been a little too late to the party. While Apple has a history of being fashionably late, it’s never a great idea to turn up when everyone else is already at full speed and the boat has already sailed. But a bigger reason may be the marketing….. and the money. Worldwide lottery sales, the global coffee industry and the aircraft carrier fleet of the USA are ALL worth less than Apple! With a market cap of nearly $400 billion and the most valuable brand in the world, valued at £70billion, it’s hard to compete on an even footing! Why are android smartphones and Google Play now giving Apple a run for their money? Maybe it’s the fact that it’s the world second most valuable brand so for once Apple are being played at their own game.
Of course it’s not just the money – Apple’s marketing is fantastic; it’s clever, it’s slick and it draws you in every step of the way. But the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch feel different. Even if previous Apple products aren’t the first to be invented, they tend to tread new ground, they work better than others, they’re better developed, with better partners (iTunes and the music industry). If others already exist, Apple are the first to do it well. But this time….. they’re not.
Big screen smartphones? Already done and done well; Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony have been refining theirs for several years now. Phablets? Same again. Smartwatches? Again it’s a head start to Motorola, Samsung, Sony and LG. Contactless payment? NFC is probably on your bank card, you can use it on the Tube already and Google Wallet is a competitor and the banks will certainly prove a harder nut to crack than the music industry.
Apple are playing catch-up, they’re not hosting the party and for once, they’re not even a VIP guest and their name isn’t on the list. They’re gate-crashing and they’ve got a lot of work to do if they want to mingle with the big players.
Is the Apple rotten then? No. They’re in a fantastic position that will take more than a couple of lacklustre products to dissolve. Hardcore Apple hysteria is alive and kicking and as the world’s first batch of iPhones went on sale in Sydney today, with a queue of over 1,000, the world’s first owner had flown out of California all the way to Australia just for his phone. Another customer was so excited that he dropped his sparkly new phone live on TV before he’d even touched it!
But would I take a bite right now? No, it tastes a little sour and they might need a new recipe to start being the first ingredient on your list again.