That’s why humans are good at adjusting our expectations to match the reality we face. That ability to balance what we expect will temper our disappointments. When it comes to Apple, the expectations are often over inflated which then sets the stage for greater disappointment. This happens a few times a year when Apple introduces new products. It’s about to happen again.
Damned If You Do (or don’t)
In a nutshell, the problem is rooted in Apple’s past. For decades the company has been known as both an underdog and an industry leader; a technology company that marches to the beat of its own drum. Apple is responsible for disrupting a growing number of industries, so members of the market prognosticator club and the officials of the technorati elite harangue the company mercilessly when it does not meet their inflated expectations of revolution (forgetting all the while that each revolution in Apple’s history did not occur overnight).
Go down the list. Apple II, Mac, Apple Stores, iPod, iTunes Music Store, iPhone, iPad, Watch; all were laughed at by critics but each one created an indelible impact upon their respective industries– but not overnight.
It’s exactly that history of disruptive products which has created an atmosphere of dangerous, and crazy expectations. Critics howled because Apple Watch didn’t sell in numbers approaching the iPhone or iPad and called it a flop. Yet, Watch sold more units initially that either product after launch, and the device itself is merely an accessory to an iPhone. For now.
For all of Apple’s long and storied history of disruptive innovation, the kind that upends entire industry segments, the company has a longer history of incremental innovation; a stream of steady improvements to products that may have been underwhelming initially, but became much beloved over time.
The news and information circuit of the 21st century is far different than when Apple was the underdog full of hubris and attitude, home of user friendly devices, but a company that seldom garnered respect from market and industry critics.
Not much has changed other than those same critics expect Apple to revolutionize an industry with every new product; and often such criticism comes from the same people who heaped disdain and negativity upon every product the company has launched. It’s damned if you do, and damned if you don’t for Apple in the 21st century.
So it will be with Apple’s new line of products in 2015; Watch, Apple TV, iPad Pro. As always, critics will bemoan Apple’s efforts, point to shortcomings, compare to products they deem better, wonder aloud what happened to the company’s creative ability, while pointing out that Steve Jobs wouldn’t have done what Apple just did.
Such critics are full of themselves far more than they are insightful analysis or even a modicum of historical awareness about Apple’s deeds or how the company operates. Their crazy expectations are a danger to be avoided.