The banter between loyal Apple fans vs. the world will probably never end, but it doesn’t help Apple fans any more now that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has admitted that he thinks the iPhone is “… somewhat behind with features in the smartphone business.” That’s right, he said it. He also mentioned in the same statement that Samsung is a big competitor because they are currently making great products – key word there, currently.
Here is the exact quote from Wozniak during his visit at the Businessweek’s Best Brand Awards:
“I am proud that we have such loyal fans. But this loyalty is not given; the need to have the best products is always there. Currently we are in my opinion somewhat behind with features in the smartphone business. Others have caught up. Samsung is a big competitor. But precisely because they are currently making great products.”
You know what they say, “The first step is admitting you have a problem.” Perhaps this is a good first step for Apple. It might even be a second or third step; I’ve heard that iOS 7, which is reportedly in the works, is going to have plenty of new features. What those features are exactly, I have no idea, but obviously by looking at this statement they’ve taken note of Samsung’s success (it’s kind of hard to ignore) and unless they’re prepared to follow up such a statement with some big changes, you can expect Apple’s loyal following to die out relatively quickly if something isn’t done about it. I do not expect to see Apple go down so easily.
I have to say that Mr. Wozniak hit the nail on the head when it comes to customer loyalty to Apple – it is most certainly not given, and in order to keep that fan base you have to constantly produce the best products. While the iPhone may carry an elegant look, it’s very much what’s on the inside that counts even more. In my review of iOS 6 yesterday I mentioned that basically iOS 6.1 is just as I expected it to be and I feel very indifferent about the upgrade from iOS 5.1; additionally, I don't feel like I lost anything by waiting months after its initial release. Why? Because they’re practically the same thing. Give or take a few features and what seems to be a fluidity boost, I already knew exactly what to expect. No disappointment, but no surprises either. It’s a predictable cycle at this point on the iPhone for both the hardware and the software: one device that runs on one software with minimal changes to both with each passing year; then you look at Android which was an insane amount of variety and each new software upgrade features a vastly different environment that you practically have to re-learn. Even if you don’t like change you have to admit that Android has come out with some pretty cool features.
The iPhone is very much like a real apple: different sizes and a few flavors, but in the end when you look at it it’s still the same shape and consistency with minimal varying qualities - it is still an apple. This method of theirs worked for a while, but it seems that if any time is a good time to branch out now is the best time to do so. Apple still has their cards in a good place: they still have a big loyal following, they realize where they stand, and they have the means to change. All they have to do now is just set the plan in motion. I can be very critical of Apple sometimes, especially regarding some ridiculous patents of theirs, but as an iPhone user who seems to be having a difficult time actually switching my phone out for something different, I can’t say that I dislike them too much. I just hope that my next big update will hold some pleasant surprises and something that’s actually worth bragging about.
Readers, how do you feel about Wozniak’s statement? Do you agree, or do you think that Apple should keep on doing what Apple does best? Let me know your thoughts!