I have been branded an Apple hater a long time ago, so I don’t bother to worry about that. Since 1981 I have lived and breathed technology and Apple insults the very essence of the world as I understand it with its behavior. I don’t use the word “like”, it is not aesthetic and it is not subjective. Apple can never be a positive force in the world of technology. Admirable marketing maybe. Amazing reality distortion for sure. Machiavellian trickery when it can.
Technologically speaking, the world is not an unknown, magical place. There are only so many electrons that can whiz around in silicon at a specific speed. Apple can’t change that. They can’t magically make any major breakthrough. Not only because they hardly spend any money in Research and Development. Because nobody makes such amazing leaps on their own. The world of scientific innovation is one of collaboration and open platforms.
That is of course the exact opposite of everything Apple stands for. It is no surprise that a Unix derivative in the form of Android now powers 90% of the planets smartphones. Here’s what Apple can never do:
- Be open about its plans. Absolutely vital for innovation to happen. You can’t build on something if nobody tells you how it works.
- Experiment more freely. Apple produces an absolutely terrible product such as the first iWatch but insists on selling it as the next big thing. They don’t seem to be able to give away something in order to learn like Google does so often. (With mixed results, but the principle is correct, tried and tested in innovation)
- Make more. Why only three iPhones? I can get an Android with a battery that lasts 3 days, a rugged Android, an Android for 100 dollars, etc, etc. If you don’t try market niches, if you don’t allow others to explore them, you will never discover something really exciting.
- Stick to global standards. Apple costs the world economy billions in lost productivity. Why on earth can’t they just stick to standards? How hard is it to have a “normal” USB for power, or to avoid tweaking Bluetooth? Standards in technology are the bedrock of innovation, the firm ground from which we fly to the skies.
- Collaborate. It seems silly to even write that it is so obvious to everyone in business these days. You collaborate even with your direct competitors when it makes strategic sense. Apple never seems to be able to last long in any sort of collaboration, a slave to its Steve Jobs’ inspired image of the lone genius.
There is no such thing as a lone genius in technology. Some amazing people have made great leaps and provided us with inspiring moments and ideas. But the actual products? They are always the result of extensive team work spanning the globe, companies, universities and every kind of kid playing with something to finally achieve greatness.
When Cook took over I hoped he would change some of this. It seems he can’t. Apple is a prisoner to its old “rules” and too afraid to go for the real innovation of changing its corporate selfishness.