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Apple's Cool Factor Waning?

Apple's best years are behind it, opines one financial reporter. Really? We don't see anyone getting a Samsung tattoo.

Since launching the Apple II personal computer, Apple has been viewed as a different kind of company. Though all of its products haven't been runaway best sellers, many have attracted a lot of attention. Beginning with the original iMac in 1998, its products often became hits. It revolutionized portable music with the iPod and mobile computing with the iPhone and iPad. Has the company peaked though?

Brian Deagon of Investors Business Daily thinks Apple's best years are behind it. He said "the iPhone is boxy, flat, and feeling stale" and "smartphones and tablets will become commodity items and Apple will be eaten by the collective Android gang."

From a sales standpoint, Deagon may have a point. The iPhone is still the number one selling phone, but Android has far surpassed iOS as the largest platform. The Kindle Fire, which uses a heavily customized version of Android, is estimated to have cost Apple at least $1 billion in iPad sales during the holiday season.

This may represent a financial challenge to the company as it looks to create new markets or radically transform others, as it has done several times in the last decade. That might make Apple's stock uncool to investors, but that doesn't mean the company itself will lose any of its luster anytime soon.

Deagon cites the Samsung Galaxy smartphone as one example of something cooler than the iPhone. On paper, it may have better specs. It may have certain features the iPhone lacks, but that doesn't make it more cool. Ask any random person on the street if they would rather have an iPhone or the Galaxy, I'd be shocked if most knew what the latter even was.

Apple is more than a company. It is an image. People love Apple. They want others to know they use Apple devices. Some even do it to the point of being supremely annoying about it.

Nothing is guaranteed of course, but Apple was cool long before it was a market leader, and it will be capable of being the same even if it no longer leads the mobile race. What will cause it to lose its cool factor is mismanagement of the legend Steve Jobs created, not some technological wizardry from Samsung or anyone else. How many people would consider getting a Samsung tattoo on their body? Yeah, I thought so.

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User Rank: Apprentice
1/6/2012 | 8:42:07 PM
re: Apple's Cool Factor Waning?
Apple iPhone and iPad have brought technology to the well to do masses. Apple products did not require a lot of technical expertise to purchase, just quite a bit of money (for the device and the data plan to run them mobily). As many other products have found, consumers are fickle and when certain "things" become ubiquitous they no longer have the cache they had when others didn't have them. Will this "need for change" bold well for Windows Phone, possibly if Microsoft and their partner OEMs can market Windows Phone correctly and produce the "killer app" that will allow certain buyers to look at their friends and say "see what my phone can do" (and smile inwardly and say to themselves "and see what your phone can't do?"). Oh how hard it is to keep up with the Jones !
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2012 | 2:13:20 AM
re: Apple's Cool Factor Waning?
It is possible that Apple will lose it cachet as it becomes ubiquitous (although people have been predicting Apple would run out of steam since everyone bought an iPod), but I don't think it bodes well for Microsoft. Microsoft does not allow the phone OEMs to alter their interface or experience. This puts the OEMs in a position where they cannot differentiate based on technology feature/function and the only way to compete is on price... which creates a race to the bottom as has happened in PCs.... The Microsoft centric PC model abused the OEMs (HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc) to the point where the phone OEMs are fearful of what a Microsoft dominated market will mean for them (a single digit margin commodity market). The only OEM that has signed up is Nokia and that is due to a massive payment from Microsoft.
User Rank: Apprentice
1/17/2012 | 7:19:10 PM
re: Apple's Cool Factor Waning?
It's not all about the device. Why can Apple release 4 with a bad attena & 4S with a bad battery. Because our life is integrated to that device. What Apple has is a device that gives me iTunes & Apps. To get me to migrate from iPhone to Android or Windows would cost a small fortune and time. Unless you give me something that plugs me in even more, why should I take the time & cost to change for very little reward? Develop me a cranium patch with integrated ear piece for Hearing & Talking and contact lense/glasses that responds to what I want just by thinking. Then give me a call and I'll migrate.
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