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Apple's last chance saloon?

Posted by on in Opinion
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Unless it has totally escaped you,  the number of predictions centered around Apple and it's next wave of offering has started to amass the usual hyperbole, (not quite) hysteria, objective observation, discussion, trolling, flaming, leaks, more leaks, secret snapshots from factories, anonymous quotes etc etc.

And I suppose it's fair to say that in recent times, the collective "news" that pre-empts the launch of the next offering from Cupertino has got more accurate in recent times. Or has it? As the old saying goes, if you throw enough muck at a wall some of it will stick. And so it is with predictions, there are so many of them, that some are bound to in some way shape or form predict some elements of the new offering, be it a watch or watches, 4.5 inch, 5.5 inch, 5 inch, 5.4 inch device...you get my point.

For my part, Apple's last 2 to 3 launches have been woefully disappointing. Not just from an innovation perspective, but also from the lack of vision and failure to move things forward in the way they did when they launched and completely upended and disrupted the market the first time round. They have become innovationingly (OK I made up that word) complacent and far too focused and led by margin and revenue (hang on....... as a business owner I obviously know how critical these measures are but hear me out...) that they have become more led by product and market positioning, than by innovation. And therein lies the crux of the issue.

I believe that in today's consumer electronics sector, if companies stop driving innovation and thought leadership in a market, then it doesn't matter how large they are, how good their margins are or how well positioned their products are, they will ultimately fade, become irrelevant and ultimately die or be salvaged. There are so many cases that are reflective of this in recent times - Motorola and Nokia to name but 2. 

However, you can't help but notice all this noise that is generated annually by the next wave of product and that is their green shoots of hope. And it used to surprise me to some extent, but there is still enough love still for the Apple brand, and for the promise of what they could deliver, that ultimately there is still enough interest, desire, demand and willingness for Apple to regain the innovation leadership battle and move things on to the next level that it is not over yet. BUT they need to get it right this time round.

Certainly the wearables space, which I predicted at the end of last year would be massive, has largely under-delivered (and these is still plenty of space for a new market entrant game changer who can really understand the opportunity and consumer proposition that makes sense to come to market and really open things up) could be tee'd up nicely for Apple, and so does the Bluetooth Smart moves they have made. And then there is NFC and the opportunity to finally deliver a truly working pay in shop by mobile offering - and it help finally establish NFC as the easiest short range interactive communication medium that exists. And there's more, so much more. Apple are able to take these capabilities and deliver a proposition that people understand, and in many cases didn't know they needed until Apple delivered it (iPad) that they still have a chance. But I think this could be the last chance.

I opined at the end of last year that Apple had started its long term decline and I may have been hasty to the extent that it only really takes 1 product to turn things around and the world that deviated from Apple to Samsung could come flooding back, but Apple has to deliver on that promise - something that in my opinion it has simply failed to do in the last 2-3 years. September the 19th (or whenever it is) could be make or break for the longer term fortunes of Apple and to a great extent could be seen as the last chance saloon.

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