Years of bad decisions and nonexistent innovation has left Apple in a very unenviable position for any business. They need to hit a home run with a revolutionary product in order to turn their fortunes around.
Over the past two days, Apple has announced some rather troubling financial and sales data that has caused the stock to drop about 10% as of the time of this writing.
But this is far worse than just a sales slump, instead it points to a larger issue at Apple and how the shine of its once stellar brand has been slowly tarnishing for years.
It wasn’t that long ago that any story you read about Apple on social media would be filled with responses by avid Apple fans. God forbid a negative story be published because the Apple die hard fans would flock to the comment section to defend their beloved Apple.
But man, how things have changed. Just today a story posted on Reddit that made it to the front page about Apple’s declining sales was not filled with replies defending Apple. Instead it was filled with Apple customers lamenting how bad Apple has become. The outrageous prices, the lack of innovation, the confusing line-up of models, and the shady repair tactics by Apple stores. All in all, I couldn’t find one customer defending Apple in the nearly 200 comments I was able to read through.
Essentially, Apple extracted as much money out of it’s loyal fans as it could, but now it seems that well is starting to run dry. Customers have had enough and the shortcomings of Apple in the last few years are fully exposed for all to see. So in essence, their brand image can no longer support them. The brand image that once stood for innovation and simplicity now stands for overpriced, outdated items and confusion, and this is according to Apple’s own loyal customers.
Because they can non longer rely on their brand image, they must innovate. They must innovate they way they did under Steve jobs and the way they did with the original iPhone which launched a decades long obsession with smart phones among the public.
The only problem is that such innovation is easier said than done and Apple has shown no sign of it over the past few years. There was talk of an Apple TV for years but nothing ever came of it. There was even talk of an Apple car to compete with Tesla, but those were all rumors. Instead we have seen Apple being late to the party by releasing features that other smartphones and computers have had for months or even a year.
Sadly, it seems Tim Cook has put Apple in a similar situation it was in before Steve Jobs returned to rescue the troubled company. Without innovation, Apple will slowly be picked apart by a host of competitors who can come to market faster and at much lower prices. This is what happened to Apple in the PC market when they lost their shine. It was only until Steve Jobs returned and focused the company on innovation and selling unique products that Apple blossomed into the powerhouse brand we know it as.
But Steve Jobs was a one-of-a-kind marketer. He knew exactly what his customers wanted and what would resonate with them. I don’t believe anyone who is currently on the board of Apple shares this same talent. In fact, Apple has been floating aimlessly for years, relying on it’s brand and taking advantage of the loyalty built up over decades.
But now that loyalty is being tested, and I’m afraid without an amazing new product to woo those customers back, we will witness the long, slow decline of Apple once again.
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