Perception versus reality: Is Apple really in a death spiral? No. But enjoy the chattering!

I am deriving significant enjoyment from the apoplectic die-hard Apple fanatics and influencers going nuts over the runaway gloom currently centred around the company.

In many cases (there are a few exceptions) it’s the same people who helped pile on the “Nokia is finished” and “RIM is finished” stories when both companies clearly were not. But we’re all to some extent impressionable and before you know it, it’s quite easy for perception to become reality for those who don’t have time to read beyond breathless headlines.

I was to be found smiling quietly to myself on the train the other day as I read the “Apple has cancelled everything, the iPhone is finished, bring out your dead” style opinion pieces masquerading as news. For a whole host of possible reasons, Apple appears to have changed the amount of iPhone 5 widgets it’s buying.

I say “widgets” because you and I don’t have a clue what’s actually happening. Rumour mixed with conjecture, a bit of “he says, she says” and “my sister’s mate’s parrot’s friend’s dad reckons” and before you know it, boom, Apple’s down to $500. Woosh. (That, by the way, suits a lot of people very well, thank-you-very-much. It’s was a good time to pick up some cheap Apple stock.)

For so long Apple has benefited from a wealth of free and (often, unknowingly) partisan coverage in the media that’s helped influence perception. It made living in Apple’s shadow incredibly difficult for a lot of companies, especially when every second question a press conference was “What do you think about Apple’s [whatever] in relation to this piece of junk you’ve brought to market?”

Unfortunately, a lot of companies were still shipping absolute toss out the door while Apple was redefining mobile reality. That’s often still the case. At many points over the last 5 years it’s been painful sitting in press conferences watching stupid products being announced by stupid executives from companies who previously were able to make another billion dollars just by incrementing the product code and changing the colour.

It was actually rather frustrating when a few companies actually delivered something worthwhile — something that could stand on it’s own against Apple. In those situations the media would either ignore or pan the offering. In many cases the  unintentional policy of largely ignoring anything that didn’t boast an Apple sticker was devastating to many companies.

Watching Apple — the world’s most profitable mobile company — get similar treatment is particularly strange.

I should point out that I’m not wishing failure upon Apple. Far from it. I’m keen to see what a succession of these types of silly stories will prompt in terms of a reaction or next step from the company. I should imagine that Apple’s executive team have got the message: There’s no room for screw-ups. There’s no wiggle room. There is limited goodwill, especially from those influencers who found themselves considerably inconvenienced by the “world’s best mapping” application.

The mobile industry (and perhaps the technology industry in general) is at it’s best when smart, passionate people take bold, exciting steps. We haven’t seen much in the way of bold new thinking from Apple in recent years. (Or, in fairness, the rest of the industry). With billions upon billions of dollars sitting in Apple’s bank account, I am hopeful we’ll see some exciting moves that will, in turn, prompt others into action. Or make it easy for competitors (not just in the mobile industry) to free up cash to actually respond to a threat. A lot of big players out there are currently playing the ultra safe “wait and see” strategy rather than relying upon independent thought and vision.

If you do catch a colleague spouting nonsense about Apple being dead or dying, do correct them.

  • James Vincent

    Love it. Goods points you’ve made. My fav part is this cos its so true…. ” At many points over the last 5 years it’s been painful sitting in press conferences watching stupid products being announced by stupid executives from companies who previously were able to make another billion dollars just by incrementing the product code and changing the colour.”

  • http://twitter.com/swaineview Chris Swaine

    I agree they aren’t quite running for the life boats yet as the doom mongers will have you believe. I wrote a post on a similar topic just yesterday about they may have mitigated their dwindling market share. Might be worth a read –http://www.swaineview.co.uk/apple-vs-the-world/

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    nice work!

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