Apple's Fifth Avenue Store in New York City

Apple’s ‘Right of Reply’

The way Apple is depicted in today’s media is somewhat between pure facts or pure stupidity. Why? While some opt to publish news around Apple as a matter of fact, for instance updates, product launches, etc., some instead opt to the sensational speculations, gossips; that sometimes may have logical value, yet most of them are pure crazy. Apple, clearly, won’t exercise any ‘right of reply’ in this manner, yet if only they are, the explanation may involve the following explanations.

Stocks declining

iPhone’s line of assembly

One of the most ‘sensational’ news regarding Apple is clearly about its stock. Apple’s stock is priced at close to US$1,000 sometime last year before sharply declining to about $700. Today, the value is stuck at $500 due to speculation, particularly regarding Apple’s predicted ‘decline in demand of iPhones that Apple has to cut the orders in half.’ I’m not quite sure how the said ‘decline’ is called (besides rumors and speculations), but there are many plausibilities, including change of suppliers, or even maybe Apple is preparing a new product in its sleeves. Yet it amazingly ‘affects investors’ trusts’ that it pushes down Apple’s stock by that much.

My country has a beautiful term for this kind of thing: digoreng (which literally means ‘to be fried’ as in fried chicken). The term digoreng is used when the media spread numerous information about a certain stock, be it good or terribly bad, to affect the price of the stock significantly, so as to pose the company as being in crisis (if bad) or in prosperity (if good), both are usually fell short of the true condition. I believe, Apple’s stock is not more than being ‘fried’ by speculators.

But then, does Apple even care about this? Yes, only that’s not a priority. If you have read the beautiful biography of Steve Jobs, you’ll understand that Apple is founded on the principle of creating the best (consumer) products, not to have the most money in the coffer. I think this pretty much sums up what happens: Apple cares of its investors, yet the fluctuation of its stock is not of priority, because Apple’s goal is not to accumulate wealth, it is to focus on developing products.

Follow others!

Another pure nonsensical thing spreading through the media is how Apple can avoid the decline if the company follow other companies’ footsteps. Suggestions afloat: from making that so-called ‘phablet’ (those products that I consider as a result of ‘innovation exhaustion’ where phones and tablets are blurred), licensing iOS and Mac OS to other vendors, creating cheaper products (iPhone being on the target), etc.

Contrary to the so-called ‘phablets’, iPhones are tailored first and foremost for single-hand uses

Again, it is pure nonsense. Apple’s goals are never to follow others, let alone giving away its products to other vendors. Let’s examine. First, on the form factor. Apple said during the launch of its iPhone 5, that the iPhone 5’s goal is that users can use the product single-handedly. On ‘phablets’, you can only imagine how to use the product single-handedly, since many of them are bigger than average palm size, and some even requires the use of stylus (I can’t stop thinking how Steve Jobs said, “Yuck!” describing styli). I don’t think Apple will create some ‘phablets’ anyway, since, as I say before, ‘phablets’ are nothing more than a company’s effort when its innovation has ceased to exist.

Regarding the licensing, of course one of Apple’s firm believes is that greatest software manufacturers should make their own hardwares. The company’s experiment to license Mac OS to other vendors (such as Motorola) in the 1990s botched sharply, and there will be no assurance that it will be successful today, anyway. I believe, Apple is somehow laughing at the botched Windows 8 launch, that certain manufacturers will find it difficult to install the OS on their products. Apple, on the other hand, ensures that Macs will run the Mac OS perfectly.

On the other hand, Apple has no intention on creating a cheap product. Or, to be precise, Apple has its own strategies to maintain the ‘all-encompassing price levels’. Take a look on the iPad for instance. The iPad mini, contrary to popular believe, I think, is not created to put a 8″ tablet to compete with the 7″ products; yet it is created to bring an ‘entry-level’ product to the pricing line, which starts at $329, progressing to the previous-generation iPads at $399, and the newest at $499. iPhones have the same pricing line, today’s iPhone 5 is the newest and sold at about $649 (US, no contract), the previous-generation iPhone 4S is sold at $549, and the even-older iPhone 4 at $449. That’s just Apple’s way to create a ‘cheaper’ iPhone: Using the products that it produces to open the market of cheaper products.

Apple is in decline

Well, well, I should say this is the penultimate allegation on post-Steve Jobs era: Apple is in (irrecoverable) decline. That Apple is ‘not cool enough’ now. Tim Cook is just not good. And many others. The way you say ‘decline’ needs a clear definition, to be precise.

Apple must have lost some of its juices after Steve Jobs’ passing in October 2011. That is undeniable, any company facing similar situation will also face certain kind of exhaustion. Yet, it does not merit calling the company in decline, in my opinion. Because Apple, as Jobs himself says, “… is not Steve Jobs.”

What to expect? The disappearance of skeumorphism (imitation of real things), such as the above Game Center

One of the key highlights in the so-called decline is the way Apple innovates. Apparently, for many observers, Apple has stopped innovating after Jobs’ death. Well, the thing is, Apple’s innovation, at least for the time being, is shifted towards how to make things better, how to make the existing line of products better, easier to use, more robust, filled with features that really matters to consumers (instead of packing the devices with all the features that either half-baked or not needed).

That is why, I observe some media that (somehow correctly) note the fact of Apple’s direction in 2013 may not into creating a revolutionary product, but to improve and to strengthen what’s on the foundation. For instance, if you remember Scott Forstall’s dismissal late last year to be replaced, notably by Jony Ive in UI designing, may direct Apple’s iOS into a new direction, typically better UI for the users to use and enjoy.

And clearly, to say Apple is ‘not cool anymore’ is just plain crazy. One my say my country is a developing country, for instance, yet in the last few months I see more iPhones, be it the 5s, 4Ses, 4s or whatever iPhones there are, more than I saw in 2011 for instance. Now I see people using iPhones everywhere. Not to mention the growing use of MacBooks (still perceived as cool by many) and iPads.

Conclusion

I may not be able to put all of Apple’s right of reply here, but at least I try to answer the way the media perceive Apple these days, because most of them are outward nonsense. Conspiracy speaking, I suspect that it is done to decrease the economic value of Apple (measured, for instance, by stock price). Regardless, I think the media should be a bit smarter in perceiving Apple, and a huge grain of salt should be taken for most of the rumors. Maybe not even for the sake of Apple itself. It is for the sake of the media themselves, just to be smarter.

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