Has Apple run out of innovation?
With the recent launch of the iPhone 7 and the controversial decision to eliminate the audio jack from it, Apple once again has given rise to much debate among experts. In particular, many wonder if Cupertino has already begun its decline, since they have not launched truly innovative products for a long time.
Unlike its competitors, Apple has always launched on the market “complete” and finished products: the approach of Steve Jobs was “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them”. Jobs was convinced he knew better than his customers what they needed. With the arrival of Tim Cook the approach has remained the same, except for the lack of new products: the first iPhone was released almost ten years ago, in 2007, and the latest novelty from Apple, the Apple watch, can be considered nothing more than a simple extension of the iPhone.
The ugly truth is that the approach to the market by tech firms has changed dramatically: every year companies like Google and Facebook invent and create many new products, some of them are doomed to failure, but others will be corrected and improved based on what the market says. Apple, however, limits itself to launch refined and improved versions of its devices without real innovation for many years. The impression is that Tim Cook is making Apple the new Microsoft: a behemoth too focused on the improvement of its hardware to realize that the outside world is drastically changing.
Maybe Apple’s destiny is more linked to services than devices: its share of smartphone sales has been falling for some time at the expense of Android developers like LG, Samsung, Huawei and low-cost Chinese manufacturers, while this year iTunes made Apple earn almost 23 billion dollars and the streaming service Apple Music is also seeing a notable growth. For comparison: in 2015 Netflix’s revenues were 6.78 billion dollars. Moreover, if the number of people running to buy a new phone decreases every year – that is what is happening – then Apple must continue to earn through the mobiles that it has already sold, investing and improving the ecosystems and the platforms in which they act.