As it turns out, there might be plenty of reasons why Apple could, at any moment, crash and burn and become a public spectacle of a company destined for failure, a cash rich monstrosity that can do no right. You know, like Microsoft, the company, which, despite many, many failures, has yet to crash and burn, so why is Apple more vulnerable.
For Whom Doom Tolls
Monday was a slow news day in the technology industry. It always is. That’s why Jessica Van Sack’s headline should be examined and judged for what it is. Link bait, click bait, a tired perspective that no longer holds value.
Regarding Apple’s forthcoming entry into the automobile business, “Apple veers out of its lane: iCar could crash and burn.” Yes it could. Or, not. What is Apple’s lane?
Way back in the last century Apple’s lane– it’s domain, if you will, was the Mac. Then along came the Apple Store, quickly followed by critics who predicted eminent demise and shuttering of said stores. For Apple, retail was ‘out of its lane.’ Funny thing. True story, too. Apple Stores did just fine and there are nearly 500 around the world that draw in a few hundred million customers every year. But the retail store business was ‘out of its lane.’
Shortly after the Apple Store came the iPod, a portable media player with massive storage, a simple interface; a device connected only to the Mac. The iPod was ‘out of its lane’ for sure. Apple never had produced anything like the iPod, and, as it turned out, neither had anyone else. The iPod was a huge success, attracted hundreds of millions of non-Mac customers to Apple and paved the way for success with other Apple products.
iPhone? To Apple, iPhone was ‘out of its lane.’ iPad? ‘Out of its lane.” You see where this is going, right?
The fast-tracked development of an electric vehicle constitutes the most ambitious project to date by the most valuable company in the world.
And it’s destined to end in an unsightly wreckage.
Uh huh. Just like Apple Store, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, and Watch. None of which were within Apple’s traditional driving lane. Somehow or another Apple managed to become an expert and a driving force in each one of those business categories; well integrated products which people love to use.
So, why should we believe a Monday morning armchair quarterback whose claim to fame is rehashing and regurgitating press releases into daily doses of digital pablum? We should not. Why not? Apple has a history of making such members of the digerati proletariat look like feeble minded relics of yellow journalism from the early part of the 20th century. They stir up dust, cause trouble, but don’t amount to much.
Apple’s top brass don’t know the first thing about entering the car industry. It takes more than a boatload of cash and hundreds of poached automobile hires to become an automaker.
Actually, Apple probably knows as much about ‘entering the car industry‘ as anyone outside the car industry. What Apple doesn’t know is obvious. How to succeed in the car industry. To learn that part of the automobile industry the company might actually need to make a car, introduce said car, and sell the car to customers.
Yet Apple’s car envy is also understandable. It would be hard for a company at the forefront of innovation to sit on the sidelines for the most seismic shift consumers will see in their lifetimes. Autonomous cars hold the potential for cultural and environmental changes the likes of which have not been seen since the advent of automobiles themselves.
The end of traffic jams, accidents and excess pollution may all be on the horizon if someone gets this right. But not yet. Not soon. Not even by 2030.
What about 2031? Why not by 2030? Partly because such predictions seldom come true, but it’s also obvious that the automobile industry stands on the cusp– or, precipice– of a massive tidal wave of change.
Wait. The so-called analysis gets worse. Much worse.
There’s nothing about what Apple does well that lends itself to building cars. In fact, quite the opposite: Apple has always excelled more on form over function. But there is no room for error when it comes to auto manufacturing. In fact, you could argue that cars are ultimately all about function.
The reality is that everything about Apple lends itself well to building cars. The company’s executives are masters at supply chain management, a critical component of auto manufacturing. The company’s designers have a track record for physical esthetics which merge seamlessly with both software and hardware, engineered to create quality products that people love.
The company needs to take its foot off the gas on this project — or it will surely crash and burn. Otherwise the next domain it should register is something along the lines of iRecalls.com.
Surely. Because Apple crashes and burns so frequently that one wonders why the company is still in business.
But cars are big, heavy, clumsy devices to manufacture, distribute, and sell, right? In the past, maybe. Look at Tesla, the best automobile ever tested by Consumer Reports, the electric vehicle that owners love more than any car they’ve ever owned. Is that not an Apple-like vehicle that is well designed, delivers more than expected; a device customers want to use? What was Tesla’s track record prior to building a Tesla? Someone gathered the money and experience needed to fulfill a design objective and remained persistent until a ground breaking product was developed.
Can Apple do the same thing? Sure. Why not? The company has the talent, experience, will, and money to change the industry. Whether it will or not remains to be seen, of course, but all the pieces are in place.
Why can’t critics see that? It’s because insightful analysis is sorely lacking in traditional journalism, having fallen to the wayside in favor of click bait and link bait headlines that stir up dust, but inhibit critical thinking.