Apple - The Fruitful Company That Was

Thursday, September 13, 2012
"Hey look! It's an iPhone!" was a very popular line in the history of mobile telephony. If you were one of those people whose jaws dropped upon stumbling next to a person owning the first generation iPhone back then, consider yourself hypnotized.

Photo courtesy of CNET

It can be recalled how Apple's iPhone brought about a tremendous amount of change in how mobile phones are right now. Sure, there have been a few touch-screen phones before it but the differentiating factor is the manner it was marketed - A phone and iPod in one!

But how innovative was the "innovative" fruit-company with the initial iPhone? Did it blow others up flaunting something that others lacked? I'd say it did. To a certain extent, touch-enabled phones carrying different brands flooded the market thereafter. Other than Apple empowering people's index fingers in mobile technology, there isn't really anything left worth mentioning. I can recall trying to sell my Nokia N95 just to get hold of an iPhone. Just before I actually did, I began to have second thoughts on the iPhone for one thing - it didn't have quite a number of standard features that others already had for years. Eventually I had to say "nay" instead of "yey" on the iPhone.

A year passed and a successor came into place bringing a not-so-generous number of features. Unsurprisingly, it sold like hotcakes like the first one did. The second iteration of the iPhone failed to lure me into getting one. Such reaction went on until Apple unveiled Siri. It wasn't really the first of its kind but like the first iPhone, Apple went away successful with a sole strategy - marketing (again). Perhaps, Apple can lean on that aspect for its success.

Engineering phones with a minimalist design left people with the impression that simple is beautiful; and it is. Though agreeable, you don't look only into aesthetics. Ironically, the iPhone's operating system dwells in a spot just below simplicity; deviating from competition with a snob on basic features that phones should have. Just imagine how Apple took 5 long years before it had video calling over mobile network incorporated on its product, 1 year before Multi Media Messaging (MMS) was considered, another unbelievable 5 years and counting for inability to send files via Bluetooth and an absolute blind eye on NFC. But the list doesn't stop there. A lot is still left undone for consumers to get the complete experience on an Apple iPhone.

Just hours ago, the latest iPhone (iPhone 5) was introduced to the public. I'd be honest in telling that I've been crossing my fingers on the possibility of Apple introducing a ground-breaking evolution to its next-generation mobile phone. To my surprise, it only played catch-up with other existing phones in the market. In a world where technology has apparently reached its climax, banking only on hardware upgrades will bring no good. Look for a fast phone and there's quad-core. Search for LTE and there's a variety to choose from. But consider software evolution - it's something you'd gain much credit for without having to share much similarity with competition.

Before buying another phone, one is likely to ask if the upgrade is justifiable. In this case, if a bigger screen, slimmer phone profile and LTE integration will suffice, why would you pay a premium when there are better phones out there at a lesser price? Is it because the logo looks "too cool," or because you'll finally have a reason to flaunt? Hey, I got good news for you! In a third-world country like the Philippines, our tricycle drivers, security guards and household personnel have iPhones, too. In effect, what I'm driving at is the fact that owning an iPhone will never make you look elite, nor will it make you BE elite. And so I ask, what does your iPhone do that the other phones, like the Galaxy SIII, can't? Or should the question be what CAN'T your iPhone do that the Galaxy SIII can?

Photo courtesy of CNET Asia

Apple has apparently lost its glory in its claim to be an "innovator" with the iPhone 5. Unless the next-generation phone from Apple can make any notable difference, it will only turn out to be less of a mobile phone and more of an expensive toy. Let me end with a quote from CNET's Roger Cheng, "Think about it: was there one legitimately new feature that was shown off? That's the big issue. When a company stops innovating, it becomes vulnerable. It may not happen today or tomorrow, but the lack of breakthrough products sets you on the track for a potential downfall."