Is Apple Losing its ‘Cool’?

by Matt Klassen on September 23, 2013

For the past several years Apple has relished the opportunity to trumpet its iPhone pre-order numbers from atop its mobile throne, letting its competitors know just how far they had to come to compete with the latest Apple device. But despite the fact this weekend’s release of both the iPhone 5S and 5C once again drew some crowds, Apple has remained conspicuously silent on the consumer demand for the budget iPhone 5C, leading many to speculate that there simply isn’t that much interest in Apple’s latest wares.

In fact, this dearth of initial news from Apple has led many to ponder if the Cupertino company has finally lost its ‘cool’ factor, and given that the younger generation of consumers seems to be reaching for phones that are distinctly not Apple, such speculation may be right on the money.

But the news that Apple has lost its edge is really nothing new; such speculation was rampant at the release of the iPhone 4 and 5 and so we really shouldn’t be surprised that it has once again accompanied the release of the 5S and 5C. That said, yet another successive release without any real innovation does point to a growing disconnect between what consumers want from Apple and what the company is able to deliver.

While silence from Apple regarding the presale numbers of the iPhone 5C has left Apple fans worried about the future and Apple detractors chortling with delight, the fact of the matter is, as tech analyst Carl Howe put it, “Absence of facts is not the same as facts,” meaning just because Apple hasn’t said anything about the iPhone 5S doesn’t, in any way, mean the phone has failed to live up to expectations.

That said, there does still seem to be cause for concern that the phone won’t live up to its hype as Apple’s long awaited budget phone, for the simple fact that it’s not affordable. InChina, for instance, it’s being reported that Apple’s new iPhone 5C will be available for an unsubsidized price somewhere between US$730 and $860, a sticker price that has drawn the ire of Chinese consumers who refuse to pay top dollar for a brightly-colored piece of plastic.

“What [Apple needs] to do to move the needle in unsubsidized markets is offer it at $350 so long as they keep their brand image of being a high-end phone,” Michael Morgan, a senior analyst at ABI Research, told MacNewsWorld in a recent interview. “Chinese manufacturers are producing quad-core smartphones at that price.”

Not only has Apple’s iPhone 5C priced itself out of the markets it was designed to dominate, the fact of the matter is that the iPhone seems to have lost its credibility with the younger generation, a generation who is looking for forward thinking innovation and who, with Apple, is finding only tweaks to a blasé form factor.

In fact, it’s not hard to see where Apple has gone wrong. “They seem to be stuck on features rather than taking a step back and delivering the bigger message of how their product will transform our ways,” suggested Hyun-Yeul Lee, a professor of Communication atBostonUniversity. “Apple in this round has done more to make the iPhone a fashion statement than to provide functional innovation.”

In the end, one only has to watch the latest music videos on MTV to see a remarkable absence of Apple products, damning evidence that the Cupertino company has lost touch with popular culture.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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