With over $100 billion in the bank, we can safely assume Apple are going to be just fine for the medium term, Apple will also continue to make great products, however, their advances will only be incremental, and the judgement from the stock market will be harsh.
This simply highlights the problem with how our economies and companies are run. On the one hand we have an iconic company that is a shining example of just how our lives and the demands of our lives have changed in one short decade.
We now live in the world where the demands on our technology are no longer just functional, we want to have aesthetically beautiful experience with everything from our desktops to our tv’s and mobile devices and we can thank Apple for this. This also stretches to our furniture, automobiles – just about everything we want today has to not only work great but look great also.
So for all of you that sneer at students in university following a career in arts, just look at all the major companies of the world, including now Google and the demand for creatives has never been higher!
But let’s get back to the problem with Apple. Think of the iPhone. Just 3 years ago the iPhone was so simplistically beautiful to use and so much more technologically advanced than any other smart phone on the market that it single handedly sent many incumbent mobile phone companies to the wall. Fast forward to today and the surviving companies like LG, HTC and Samsung have closed that gap and some will now argue that with the upcoming release of the Samsung Galaxy 4 that it is far more advanced and better functionally than the iPhone 5.(owners of the Samsung S3 already think that version is better).
So, this is Apple’s problem, the market has priced Apple to continue its aggressive pace but that pace is slowing dramatically and it is now facing a slew of competitors across it’s range of products including iPhone, iPad, iMac and Apple TV.
Apple has become one of the most important companies of the 21st century, transforming just as many industries as Google, its most fierce competitor, but it’s product range just doesn’t have any major advances built into them and the competitors across their whole range are releasing products as strong and in some cases stronger.
Apple is also remarkably on the defensive, taking legal action against just about anyone who breaths close to one of its thousands of ridiculous patents. This tactic may have slowed competition, but it is clear with the Samsung Galaxy S4 that the Apple party days are over and they need new innovations. Apple also makes most of its money on hardware and that hardware is expensive compared to many of its competitors.
Apple also are paying a heavy price for over protecting its software from competition and worst of all developers, just take the Google Maps debacle on the iPhone5. Apple’s Mapping System is so far behind Google’s that catching up is just never going to happen, in fact in 2 years Google Maps will be even more advanced than Apple’s next maps offering, mainly because Google’s software for the most part is open and welcome to hacking through API’s and developer forums. Yes, we developers love Google for letting us play and think of new ideas for its software and Google is only too happy to make all the money from this innovation.
Apple TV 2013
Apple has been working on a new Television that it hopes will change the TV and Cable industry as much as iTunes did for the music industry. The pressure on the New Apple TV is immense. It must transform the TV and Movie industry, much like iTunes did for the music industry or the markets will start to savage Apple’s stock. My belief is that it will fail, I am excited as anyone about this upcoming release, but my feeling is that the cable industry is so much more powerful and profitable than the music industry was when the iTunes store came about that Apple’s innovation might be just too minimal.
My company changed to Google Premium Apps for email, documents and the like back in 2008. Moving away from Microsoft was a lot less painless than I imagined, particularly with Outlook. I use Mac Desktops and I have a Macbook Air, but because I use Google Apps and because Apple’s iPhone and iPad restrict the way I can interact with this software on their mobile devices I decided to move away from them mobile wise to use Android devices.
My first experience with this a few years back was less than ideal, I purchased a HTC Thunderbolt and let me just say I will never but a product from them again. It was slow, and never upgraded the Android OS to latest versions and this is the problem with so many Android Devices.
Android is pretty much an open mobile operating system and every 6 months or so a new upgrade is released from the Google Android team, however because companies want to differentiate themselves from competitors in the Android marketplace they create their own skinned version of Android and therefore make it harder for themselves to quickly release new upgrades – at the same time consumers end up waiting months and sometimes years to get the new Android releases to their devices. Companies like Samsung are getting better at this and keeping pace with upgrades, but it is still a problem for Android users – until Nexus Devices came along.
The Google Nexus range of devices are built by companies like Samsung, LG and Asus, but what is different about these devices is that they are pure Google and these companies teams ‘live’ at Google’s headquarters and work directly with the Google team to release these to the public through the Google Play Store. That means they get the upgrades first and have no added software built onto them.
One of the best things about these Nexus devices is they are ridiculously cheap to buy direct and because you own them outright you get to set your own plan with mobile network providers. I went from $140 per month to $50 per month on exactly the same plan. Also, as the devices are pure Google I get to do everything I want, access everything I want on a device that is so close to the functions of an iPhone I can no longer tell the difference and will probably never go back.
Another great thing that has just come to Google Android Devices is Google Now, this is seriously cool stuff and once you set this up on your device you will have pretty much everything at your fingertips. My guess this is going to be the biggest thing on Google devices and perhaps desktops for the next few years, especially once this starts getting better local features and with a slew of developers now working across the globe with its API it is about to get seriously cool!
I have the Nexus 4, 10 and 7 and I use these for different situations. I find I rarely use my iPad for anything to do with business these days and my advice to anyone using Google Premium Apps for their business is to seriously consider moving away from Apple’s mobile devices and you will find a way better experience and a serious lift in productivity on a Google Nexus Device or one of the upcoming phones from Samsung and the much talked about HTC One.