Apple’s profit surge halted in the latest quarter, as a flood of new products like the iPhone 5 meant high start-up costs for new production lines.
Apple still probably makes the most reliable technology products regarding computers, tablets, cell phones and music players; but their attention to detail and devotion to the user interface and quality user experience has faltered since the death of founder and CEO Steve Jobs.
Most notorious was the deletion of Google apps from Apple iPad and Apple iPhone. The built-in Apple map that replaced Google maps was a disaster. It gave people wrong directions, rendered distorted satellite views, mislabeled places, lacks the Google street view technology, and did not have the quality resolution at zoomed in satellite views — compared to Google’s map app. In fact, it doesn’t zoom in as close on satellite view. It also deleted the built in YouTube app. Initially there was a replacement YouTube app by Google, but many users complained it didn’t work as well as the original. Besides, it required several minutes for a download — especially frustrating for users who upgraded their iPhones from iOS 5 to iOs 6.
Eventually a Google map was released by Google for the iPhone and iPad, many people held back on upgrading their iPhones, or even held back on purchasing new iPhones until the Google map issue was resolved.
Especially with the Google map issue, Apple showed an extreme disregard for Apple customers. Apple showed a “Let them Eat Cake” attitude toward its customers, which revealed an arrogance that was punished by consumer response. Apple apologized, but it was too late. Steve Jobs motto was “Give the People What They Want” and even give it to them before they know they want it. Apple lately has even taken some things away.
Apple’s RSS screen saver on the Mac OS X operating system is an example of how Apple taketh away. The retired screen saver rotates news headlines from any news publisher that provides an RSS feed for their website. RSS Visualizer screensaver, which was available from OS X Lion and earlier, was dropped in the version of OS X Mountain Lion. Apparently, for no reason. It didn’t require any great overhead, and it didn’t require development to the next version of OS X. In fact, a workaround was discovered by finding the “visualizer.qtz” file in the library folder of a Mac with the older operating Mac OS X operating system and dropping the file into the library folder of a hampered Mac with the OS X Mountain Lion operating system. Why take something away? Every evolution of a product should provide more bang for the buck with more powerful and better-designed features. That was the whole theme of product introductions by charismatic Steve Jobs. Even some loyal Apple customers are tired of the way they are strung along by Apple, ie., experiencing a delay in availability of the latest and greatest features — obtainable only by cracking open their wallets. To outright take a feature away is just plain wrong.
OS X has had some quirks that show the development team just didn’t do their homework. Some files are suddenly unreadable in Mac OS X — accompanied by the message that the user doesn’t have the required permission to view the file — a local file on a local machine being operated by the top administrator/user of the particular machine. What?
Some of the problems with desktops may be the result of putting so much engineering talent on the development of the profitable mobile devices, to the loss of the desktop devices. Even the interface of the desktops have become more like the mobile devices. For example, the scrolling direction in the Mac windows on a desktop were reversed recently to match the direction and feel (touch control) of the mobile devices. The scroll bars are unnecessarily thin on the desktop, and their default is that the scroll bars are hidden. That’s not very intuitive for a user that has upgraded from an older Mac OS X operating system. Fortunately, users can configure the scroll bar to permanently display, and can change the directional control of the scroll bar, if they want. However, there is nothing intuitive from Mac OS X to help the user find out how to get the familiar features back. A smart user resorts to Google to search and see how someone else managed the problem.
Another cause for concern is related to fundamental concerns of Apple’s future by investors, and the effect on Earnings Per Share (EPS). A drop in EPS is expected to be the result of less profitable signs in manufacturing: the Apple iPhone 5 is expected to be less profitable than the iPhone 4S, iPad Mini is expected to be less profitable than the full-size Apple iPad, and future Apple iMacs are expected to be less profitable than older iMacs.
Another concern about profitability is related to a technology issue that could marginalize the app store. HTML 5 technology will permit more app-like functions and features in web browsers. For users, this could be great because there will be no more waiting to download an app to get access to functionality. If and when developers build feature-rich iPhone and iPad functionality on the Safari web browser using HTML5, developers can bypass Apple and the App Store.
In the near future businesses will be taking advantage of the popularity of tablets and use them for custom business applications — whether they are native apps download from the app store or a web app that bypasses the the app store. Businesses will find a way to build new custom tablet apps quickly and cost effectively. They will be able to avoid the cumbersome App-developing process of the Apple App store, and bypass expensive developers by creating their own apps with code-free app developing software. Businesses will also be able to quickly update and maintain versions of their self-created apps throughout their life cycle at low cost. The technology disruption will be similar to the introduction of desktop publishing that changed the course of printing press and publications providers in the 1980’s.
So the real question is, will Apple try to profit by jacking around their customers; or will Apple focus on the Next Big Thing?
On January 24, 1984, Steve Jobs introduced the first Macintosh at a shareholder meeting in Cupertino, California. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook acknowledged the anniversary during his company’s quarterly earnings call on Wednesday.
Apple Shareholder Meeting January 24, 1984 — The First Macintosh.