Has Apple Lost It? (Part 2)

5/18/2013 6:19:29 PM

Stupidly expensive kit

Apple has always released expensive products. If you want a shiny aluminum MacBook, then you have to stump up $1,500. Some people will do this, some won’t. There are certainly lots of cheaper laptops around, but there are also lots of equally expensive ones too, such as Sony Vaios. However, recently Apple released 15” MacBooks with Retina displays that sell for nearly $3,000 for the base model. Surely this is just too high a price to pay. Are there really may people who will pay $3,000 for a laptop? I myself would find it impossible to justify that amount.

Apple's shiny white website: for many people a paradise on earth

Apple's shiny white website: for many people a paradise on earth

There is a case here that Apple has lost touch with its customers, particularly in a world recession. It’s not backed up, though, when you look at sales figures, because the $3,000 MacBook is selling very well. There’s money out there somewhere, then. It’s interesting to think that for years Apple positioned itself as the cool company, the little person struggling against the great corporate Microsoft. Microsoft was evil and Apple was just this small company trying to change the world and put a stop to the greyness that Microsoft caused.

How times change. Now Apple is the biggest technology company in the world, so all that cool little guy charm has one. Where once you could be a little different by using an Apple product, now you’re just joining the mainstream. This must be hurting their sales, because now to be a bit different you could buy an android tablet or use a Windows 8 phone.

Nokia’s New Lumia 620: Windows Phone 8 on the Cheap

Nokia’s New Lumia 620: Windows Phone 8 on the Cheap

There’s not a lot Apple can do about this, though, and it would probably rather be where it is now than where it was in the 90s. It’s definitely one to watch, though, as you can no longer be alternative and use an Apple; you have to look elsewhere.

Too many lawsuits

This has been covered in depth elsewhere, but it can’t be good for Apple to be involved in so many lawsuits at the same time. It really must be hard to keep its eye on the ball all the time.

Just the other week announcements were in the news about lawsuit issues in Germany and Australia.  Not only does it take resources from the company that could be used elsewhere, but it also goes a little way to tarnishing the company’s image. Where’s the old hippy Apple ethos when it’s suing and being sued by everything that moves.

Poor working practices

Linked to this and further tarnishing Apple’s image is the recent scandal of its underpaid and overworked employees in Chine. Apple has tried to address this, promising more product to be built in America and better working conditions in Chine. Hopefully, it will act on this soon.

Most people, I think, know that products made in Chine are not always made under the best pay and conditions, but they turn a blind eye. If you buy a $375 laptop, then perhaps you should expect this situation, otherwise how else can it be made for that price. However, if you’re paying $1,500 or more for a computer product, then perhaps you should expect a little more.

No Steve?

Some of Apple's prices are a little steep, but people still seem keen to hand over their money

Some of Apple's prices are a little steep, but people still seem keen to hand over their money

Many are saying that the loss of Steve Jobs has stifled Apple’s creativity. I’m not sure this is true; it still seems to be doing okay to me. What it has done is taken away any iconic figure, and no matter how hard he tries, Tim Cook’s appearance at press conferences is never going to have the same impact.

Let’s not forget that Steve Jobs himself had some failures, from the Apple Lisa all the way to 2008’s MobileMe service. The man was not invincible. See the box out for historic Apple fails.

On the plus side?

Well, there we are: lots of reasons why Apple is maybe losing it. Is it really the end, though? I think much of the press would like it to be. Apple has grown very big and powerful, and the general media like nothing better than knocking successful people off their perch. In the long run, though, I think Apple will be here for a long time.

It products are too expensive, but they’re well designed. Anyone who’s used a MacBook Air can see this – it’s slim, silent and boots up in about five seconds from cold. It’s a brilliant device, but it’s also overpriced and over-trendy.

Apple lovers will always adore the company, and haters will always despite it, but I can’t see its progress stopping anytime soon. Sales may have dropped by a few percent recently, but it’s still shifting an awful lot of stock at very high profit margins.

Personally, I neither hate nor love the company. I do quite like its products, though, so I must be in the middle somewhere (even though there is no middle ground, of course).

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