Is Apple losing the plot?

My first Apple product was an LCII, which I purchased second-hand in the early ’90′s. For those of you who don’t know what an LCII is, check here.

The LC’s were affectionately referred to as ‘pizza boxes’ with a 10MB RAM limit – no matter how much memory was installed.

At the time, my brother was working in multimedia design for a large, global property development firm. He convinced me of the benefits of buying an Apple product and overcame my objections to the comparatively high price of the product at the time.

I have been considered as somewhat of an Apple ‘fanboy’ since that time and over the years have convinced many people to move over to Apple. I even bought my wife a MacBook as a wedding present. (Such a romantic, right?)

What I have always loved about Apple (apart from the elegant design and intuitive user interface) is the helpfulness of the Apple community – starting with the friendly, informed and helpful people at the Apple store.

That was then – this is now.

Fast forward to 2013. I now run a small consulting business, creative agency and PR firm. We are entirely a ‘Mac shop’ – operating on mac servers, iMacs, MacBook’s, iPads and iPhones. We are entirely dependent on the Mac ecosystem, and it appears a large portion of the rest of the world has caught up!

It is now passe to comment on the number of iPhones, iPads and earpods you see at the gym or on the bus. Everyone is wired in and the Apple symbol is ubiquitous. But has Apple kept up to its brand promise of elegant design, intuitive user interface and a friendly, helpful community of Apple fans and staff willing to help at the drop of an app? I don’t think so…

Apple is falling behind. And they risk losing the confidence of their greatest supporters; the early adopters and fanboys who have always backed them and given them the benefit of the doubt.

The list of failures is getting too long and the speed of recovery too clumsy and amateurish.

As an example, I am still using an iPhone 4 and have no desire to upgrade to the iPhone 5 as the benefits don’t seem worth it. The problem is though that the iPhone 4 is failing miserably. The battery life is awful, the home key barely works and the phone simply shuts down for a rest whenever the strains of modern life get too much for it!

Will they recover? I don’t know, but for the first time in 20 years I am considering buying something other than an Apple.

Contributor:

Michael Field, Director at Michael Field Pty Ltd.

Social Media – hard to get good help?

It’s hard to ignore the explosion of social media and its impact on business. For example, LinkedIn Australia now has >2million members with a new member joining every second.

Many businesses are grappling with questions such as:

  • How can we capitalise on the growth and connect with key business decision makers?
  • How do we navigate the digital landscape, map a business growth strategy and effectively manage risk?
  • How do we build an effective digital strategy, manage implementation and measure results?

With the myriad of platforms and devices we use to stay connected, it can be difficult to know which ones we should invest our time in, particularly when it comes to business.

How do you decide which will yield the best business results? What strategies will you put in place to build your business and professional brand?

It’s no longer a question of whether to involve yourself and your business in social media or not. The question is ‘how are you going to differentiate yourself and your business?’

Another important question to consider is ‘where do you go to get quality advice?’

To be fair, there are many excellent practitioners currently advising on social media. Equally though, there are many people whose only qualification is they have a Facebook page or Twitter account – making them an expert.

It reminds me of the lead-up to the year 2000 with Y2K experts offering advice and expertise. Similarly today we have the ‘social media expert’- willing to advise businesses on how to get the most out of social media.

If you are considering appointing a social media expert, ask to see proof of where they have built a business, and how the growth in the business is directly attributable to the social media efforts and activities.

It’s a tough call, but it’s a question worth asking.

Contributor:

Michael Field, Director at Michael Field Pty Ltd.