Apple bashing is a hot new trend. Granted, some of the hefty amounts of criticism aimed in Apple’s direction is well deserved.
As the company sells more complex products and increases the customer base, problems, some severe, float to the top. Certainly not all of what Apple does these days is bad, is it? Or, is it?
For the bashers, my perspective may well be considered as sympathy for the devil. Apple is quickly becoming a company that many customers, media pundits, tech watchers, love to hate. Or, at least, wag a finger.
Our favorite Mac maker has been thriving with multiple years of good fortune brought about by a willingness to gamble on new technology, to switch CPU platforms seemingly overnight, and push, rush, jump forward to capture spoils.
Spoils? Yes, the spoils of war. To many, Apple included, business is war. Opportunities arise, seemingly unexpected, and capitalizing on, or forcing a favorable situation requires quick response.
Apple jumped into portable media players, then the iTunes Store, then iTunes for Windows and did so with what seemed, back then at least, lightning speed. By today’s standards, that was a covered wagon operation in the wild west.
Such moves are not without problems, and Apple’s quality control problems have bubbled to the surface. Mac OS X Leopard was not a stable or dependable as previous versions of the OS.
The iPhone 3G went through two public beta versions before getting it right in version 2.1.
The risks obviously are worth the reward to Apple despite some negative press and a diminished stature in public. Not only is the Mac back, but iTunes rules, iTunes Store rules, the iPod rules, and moving target to hit among cell phone makers is the iPhone.
Oh, and despite some crazy application approval processes, the App Store may already have cornered the lion’s share of smart phone applications.
What Apple is doing right is an even longer list than the few negatives that seem to dominate the headlines. Apple’s Mac prices are competitive with competitor’s products.
The iPod rules because Apple covers the spread, from low end to high end, offering a wide variety of products at nearly every price range. Apple is competing with themselves in music and portable media players. No one else has the full on ecosystem.
Inherent in Apple’s ability to balance the need for speed in moving forward into new markets, with the need to keep everything together and functioning to customer satisfaction is ‘change.’
Managing layers of complex technology is one thing, but managing rapid change is something else. Witness the iPhone 3G’s launch problems, MobileMe, and more.
In barely three months after the launch of the iPhone, to mixed reviews because of quality issues, Apple has moved rapidly to versions 2.0.1, 2.0.2, and now, the delightfully dependable 2.1.
OS X Leopard continues to improve; gradually, but with notable polishes, fixes, and a future. OS X Snow Leopard will discard the PowerPC past in favor of a future of Intel, so CPU supply problems surely have disappeared forever. For now.
As a long time Mac user and Apple watcher, I know that big businesses can be considered on equal footing with the devil, watching out only for their own greedy needs. In that regard, Apple and the far more evil Microsoft are similar.
What I appreciate about Apple’s approach is the constant need to improve the product, a trait which Microsoft appears to have abandoned shortly after the launch of Excel for Mac and Word 5.0.