Playing hard to get isn't helping Apple anymore. Here are 4 words it must embrace to fight off hard-talking rivals like Google and Samsung.
Apple needs to learn to speak the language of reality.
Apple's Ping social networking service bombed, an event widely seen a sign that the company doesn't get social software. Well, of course it doesn't. You can't be both silent and social.
Apple's laconic approach to public interaction undoubtedly contributes to the press it receives: The scarcity of Apple commentary increases its value. But the cost appears to be increasing. When Apple really was leading the industry in mobile innovation, the company could afford to let its products speak in its place. Now that the race is neck-and-neck, Apple just seems peevish and arrogant in its silence. I'm convinced there would be far less Apple hatred if the company made more of an effort to engage on a public level. If the engineering team behind Apple Maps, for example, posted on a social network about the challenges they faced and the advances they've been making, people would respond in a positive way.
Apple has fans. What it needs are friends.
"Open" is perhaps the most misused word in the tech industry. Even so, Apple could employ it a bit more. It could change its App Store review guidelines so content is not considered. Apple would still be able to reject apps because of technical shortcomings or security problems. But it would forego rejecting lawful, non-abusive content, a.k.a. arbitrary censorship.
Apple has mastered "closed." Now it needs to explore "open." It needs allies and partners rather than contracts that defend its turf.
The iPhone was genuinely revolutionary. It put a powerful, Internet-connected touchscreen computer in people's pockets, where nothing comparable existed previously. The iPad continued the revolution. The company's rumored Internet-connected watch isn't likely to rise to that level, even if it should deliver healthy margins.
Apple should be using some of its massive cash reserve to research a real revolution: building its own national wireless network, offering paid Web apps that perform better than Google's, making Siri work better, figuring out a way to cut cable companies out of the loop, or something equally bold. Google is gambling on Project Glass, self-driving cars and other "moonshots."
If Apple wants to keep tossing around the term "revolutionary," it will have to aim higher than wrist wear. It needs to challenge the status quo and break some business models.
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