October 23, 2013 - 8:20pm
BY ABHISHEK CAULIGI
Old Dogs and New Tricks
The newest generation of Apple’s iPad was released yesterday. As every time, the release of the current generation of products was keenly analyzed and the new features of the products dissected. Yet, aside from a standard retooling of the MacBook line and the unveiling of a lighter iPad Air, the event continues a trend of bland releases from Apple, a trend that began, sadly, with the death of Steve Jobs. Gone are the days when Apple events elicited a flurry of responses because of groundbreaking new products such as the iPhone and iPad — products that changed the way we live. These days, a new Retina display or fingerprint sensor has to suffice.
Admittedly, this “failure” to churn out innovative products cannot be chalked up to Apple. What Apple accomplished in the first decade of the millennium was simply remarkable and the iPod, iPhone and iPad remain ubiquitous cultural symbols. Under Steve Jobs, Apple became a beloved American company and a cultural juggernaut representing the American brand overseas, especially as a status symbol in developing countries, such as India and China.
But just as every dog has his day, each new Apple release seems to receive a quieter response. With revenue over $150 billion last year, Apple isn’t going away anytime soon, but it’s no longer the disrupting cultural force it was in the past decade.
The real threat Apple faces is for a new game-changing technology to arrive and leave Apple in the dust. With the inertia and resources Apple has, this assertion may seem hard to believe, but the field of technology only abides by one law: Moore’s law. Once entrenched titans, such as Dell or RIM, have faded into obscurity with the introduction of tablets and smartphones, respectively. Already, Android OS leads the smartphone market and Samsung is experiencing its heyday with the Samsung Galaxy smartphones and consumer electronics.
Of course, companies don’t simply stumble upon technological innovations — thousands of hours of hard work and the genius of visionaries like Steve Jobs are required. In Apple’s case, perhaps it’s time to refocus on seeking out these new technologies, rather than being content with a gold-plated iPhone or a new operating system that lacks skeumorphism.