Trouble in paradise…?

For the past I-don’t-know-how-many years when one talked about sophisticated and popular electronics, one of the first companies you mentioned in that respect was Apple.

But even the mighty Apple appears, at least of late, to be experiencing problems and this has translated to its stock recently losing ground.  What is the cause of these problems and is it a sign of bad things to come?  Paul R. La Monica for explores these issues and possible ways the prestigious company can rectify its current difficulties:

What’s Wrong With Apple?

For myself, reading an article like this is seeing history repeat itself.  I’ve written several times before about the rise of the Personal Computer (PC) and the way I (and many others) back in the early days of home computers bought just about every new iteration of the PC because each was so much better than the model which preceded it (you can read the post here).  The end result was a super-hot marketplace where computer companies made fortunes on each new model, especially when it boasted faster and faster processors.

So too it would appear it is with Apple and their most popular product, the iPhone.

The iPhone was a watershed device, and that’s saying something considering how many cellular phone models were out there at the time of its unveiling.  Most were rudimentary but one stood out: The Blackberry.

You remember the Blackberry?  People absolutely loved that device and couldn’t be without it.  They loved it so much it was jokingly referred to it as a “Crackberry”.

A year or so after the release of the iPhone and despite attempts to modernize the product (including having color screens and touchscreen functions), the Blackberry was essentially done.  The smartphone of choice became the iPhone or something that rivaled it in terms of functionality.

While one can argue about just how “original” an iPhone is/was, Apple delivered a stable, beautiful product that many found hard to ignore.  Demand for it was through the roof.

With each new iPhone model released, we had more/better at our fingertips, not unlike those PCs of yesteryear.  Better processors, better batteries, better screens, better cameras, more gizmos.  You name it.

With each new iPhone model’s release, you would find incredibly long lines of Apple fanatics at those Apple stores waiting sometimes overnight to be the first to get their hands on those shiny new models when they were officially released.

And then, just like the PC, Apple hit its ceiling and the iPhone reached something of a plateau.

Look, I’m not saying there isn’t room for improvement.  One could always improve a phone’s batter or camera or get a still faster/better processor.  But the changes now, just as what occurred with the PC back then, are smaller and more subtle.  It’s been a while now since I’ve seen news stories about consumers waiting in lines overnight to be the first to get the shiny new iPhone model.  The fact is that the “old” model they have may be perfectly fine and they no longer need to get the newest version.

As I stated in that original PC article, following the release of the Pentium processor I realized the desktop computer I had was perfectly fine.  While I had been buying a new computer practically every year, I had my previous computer for over six years without needing to replace it.  Last year I finally did but not because I felt I needed an “upgrade”.  I did so because my old PC was starting to show signs of its age and glitching on me.  Because I need a computer to do my work, I decided to be proactive and get a new model before my current one suddenly died on me.

With the iPhone, Apple is trying to maintain peoples’ excitement for their new model phones but truly the changes are not all that earth-shattering.  If anything, one of their most recent “changes”, releasing a smaller iPhone like they used to have, appear regressive.

The ultimate arbiters of all things technological in my family, ie my daughters, love their iPhones and wouldn’t be caught dead without them in hand.  At one time they had a model 5 and, when the model 6 appeared, they were desperate to upgrade.  We did so and they’ve had the model 6 for close to a year now.  In that time, the model 6s has debuted and my daughters are keenly aware of it yet have absolutely no interest in upgrading.

They’re fine with what they have, just as I was fine with the PC I had for all those years.  Just as I suspect many iPhone users are fine with the model they currently have, even if it may not be the latest version of the iPhone.

Unless the next generation model iPhone, 7, really wows, I suspect we’ll not see those big lines to buy it.  At that point, Apple may have to find some other product to supplant the one that’s been, until recent times, their goose that lays the golden eggs.