Rummaging through my dozens of news sources today I saw a snippet (on Yahoo!, of all places) about Apple reversing course.
Following plenty of public noise, Apple decided to discontinue the onerous non-disclosure agreement which iPhone developers signed.
They’re now free to communicate with one another about what works and what doesn’t, which should help to improve the quality of apps for the iPhone.
Wait. Apple reversed course? Yes. It happens. It seems to be happening more and more recently.
Is Apple of the 21st century learning to listen to customers and developers? Even begrudgingly? I think it’s easier to argue in the affirmative.
Apple has matured and become more adept at listening to the marketplace.
The developer’s non-disclosure agreement is the most recent episode where Apple’s public and not-so public plans have been altered for the good of their customers and developers.
Remember the first versions of Mac OS X? Of course not. They all looked like OS 8 and OS 9. Everything underneath was new and Apple was ready to unleash OS X on the Mac world.
Developers squawked about having to re-write their applications and utilities for an OS X marketplace which numbered into the dozens. Apple relented and tacked OS 9 Classic onto new and shiny OS X so both could run together.
In more recent history, Apple made the leap from IBM and Freescale PowerPC central processing chips to mighty Intel chips following years of Intel bashing and PPC hyping. A maturing and more pragmatic Apple saw the handwriting on the wall, read the future, and went there.
Isn’t running Windows on your Mac sacrilege or blasphemy? In years past, yes. In the newer, kinder, gentler Apple, they embrace other operating systems, even to the point of providing a mechanism to run such in the form of Boot Camp.
Apple has often been a tone deaf company, paying little attention to market realities or customers, often shoving unfinished and unfit products out the door to an adoring but unsuspecting customer base.
This new found ‘about face’ personality trait has popped up elsewhere in recent years. At first, Apple wanted to (publicly) keep the iPhone app development closed, and launched web apps instead.
Developers screamed. Apple listened and eventually provided a software development kit, an onerous NDA, and the iPhone became a new platform with thousands of applications.
Steve Jobs once derided video on the iPod just months before announcing an iPod with video playback capability. Kinder and gentler? Or, business as usual?
I’m not convinced that Apple is kinder or gentler, if at all. More pragmatic? Yes, highly so. More disciplined? Yes, in a pragmatic way.
Apple’s recent history of decision and course reversals have often benefited the company through greater sales, increased market share, market segment domination, and even in developer or customer relations.
Apple seldom acts out of kindness, if at all, often spurred into action by clamoring customers or publicly caustic developers.
Macs, iPods, and iPhones are more green than any previous products in the company’s history. Does that tell us that Apple truly cares about the environment, or they’re succumbing to pressure from environmentalists; instead protecting their image?
Do you think Apple has matured and listens better to the customer base? Or, has Apple simply learned to act more mature, but still travels the road of sales, high margins, and company hype and buzz?