Make no mistake; I think Apple does Marketing amazingly well. I wish I had owned shares in them. (I am sure Bill Gates is glad he does.)
But sycophancy that surrounds the brand needs to be tempered; this emperor is not wearing any clothes:
- They don’t build what the customers want - they luck into it because they build what they want and that just happens to be cool. At the moment their definition of cool coincides with the dominant view.
- There is already a sameness in the design and the processes (iPad = big iPod Touch) – so it is inevitable that the sameness will come into the thinking.
- That (currently & apparently) unerring sense of what is hot - will leave when Steve goes.
- They are building a walled garden that looks like paradise but will eventually prove to be a prison. They are much worse offenders than Microsoft ever was; and really harks back to the closed ecosystem of the early internet. They will get away with it as long as a lot of ‘players’ continue to make money with them; but ultimately their philosophy is anti-internet and I think the internet will win.
- No organisation (to my knowledge) has jumped the curve more than 3 times. They have one life left – and in internet years that is not so long. Someone will build a better mousetrap sooner rather than later.
- A big chunk of their cool comes from being the underdog/ anti-establishment. That is brand archetype that represents the essence of Apple. The reality does not reflect that and it is only a matter of time before the cognitive dissonance begins to jar.
- Their products are not very reliable – and after the coolness wears off, frustration sets in. I don’t know a singe owner of Apple iPhone, who is not a certified Apple fan, who will buy it again.