For quite some time now many in the mobile industry have stated their predictions on how long it would take Cupertino-based tech giant, Apple, to start its downward descent from the top. According to the New York Times, last night Apple announced its worst financial results in a decade, resulting in an 18 percent net income decrease during the second fiscal quarter of 2013. 18 percent is no small dip when it comes to profits, but as it turns out, Apple still has faith that they will be able to bounce back without a hitch from this point forward - just maybe not in the way we might think.
All in the same breath, let’s not get carried away here: Yes, 18 percent is a fairly large amount in losses, but Apple is still doing very well for itself, and it’s not going anywhere. The only thing that’s changed is that Apple is, for the first time in a long time, Apple is no longer unquestionably the best – not for the moment, anyway. For once Apple’s products are stepping aside from the limelight in favor of other products that can offer more functionality, and even step up to feature that “premium” design that so many desire from Apple. The HTC One, for example, is able to bring both to the table and people are starting to take notice.
Speaking of HTC, let’s take a moment to look at how HTC has done for itself over time. At one point HTC, while not in the exact same position as Apple, was doing a lot better than it has been lately. However, HTC seems to be doing a "bounce back" of its own with the launch of the HTC One. Not only is it one of the first Android devices to really have praises sung about its premium unibody aluminum finish, but it also has incredible new software to match. Phones like Apple have long worn out its welcome when it comes to premium software and hardware as lately it has only been excelling in producing the premium hardware aspect of the equation – which is debatable considering the aluminum design Apple went with for the iPhone 5 is anything but scratch resistant.
HTC went from zero to hero with their latest phone release: even as recent as the first quarter of 2013 HTC’s profits were down by an astonishing 91.5%. In all likelihood, these profits won’t raise much, if at all, when Q2 reports roll out considering there was a delay in the release of the flagship device and now it’s in direct competition with the Samsung Galaxy S 4. However, I feel that their numbers would have improved had everything actually gone according to plan, and I expect to see some positive change come Q3.
I feel that the same could happen with Apple if their goal is truly to be the top contender of all of the mobile market, but I have a feeling that perhaps the hype surrounding Apple has run its course for a while. After all, all good things must come to an end, and while one day it might pick up again (as it has before regarding other Apple products) it looks as if the time has come for the iPhone era to lay dormant.
Not to say the iPhone will be going anywhere - it's not. Instead, I feel it will change from being the innovative product that we fell in love with from 2007 to being a secure smartphone that we can rely on; the gift that keeps on giving, if you will. Apple seems to have made it clear that it has no real intentions of changing the interface any more than simple cosmetic changes, and perhaps that's where Apple plans on staying for a while.
While Apple may have originally planned to keep chugging along on the Idea Train to Innovationland, somewhere along the way things just went wrong: You had Apple's Maps, which turned out to be unfavorable among iOS users to say the least; the iPhone 5, which may have been a little taller, faster, and featured LTE, but that's really all you can say about it; and finally you have the same stale iOS that keeps rolling over from version to version with no real significant changes. While both the iPhone 5 and the new versions of iOS aren't anything bad, per se, there was a bad stigma around them. Why? Because people expected there to be something different at some point and that wasn't the case.
I think now we know better. Well, some of us know better. Some of us clearly never learn (I had a moment of weakness, and I thought I saw some light at the end of the tunnel. I'm sorry.) But I do think in the back of our minds we all knew that Apple wasn't going to be on top forever. Apple will always be an important part of the smartphone market, if not for its roots in every smartphone on the market today it will be at least for its secure and simple platform. It was the first real step towards the world of smartphones, and from what it looks like it will continue to serve as the first step for many people to enter the smartphone market. It’s not a bad thing – I think we just have to learn to look at Apple from a different light from now on.
Readers, what’s your opinion? Do you think that Apple should drop out of trying to make the latest and greatest products and just focus on creating premium entry-level devices? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!