The biggest issue facing Apple today is that the iPhone is losing its coolness. There I said it. Many of you are thinking the same thing. I used to be cool holding an iPhone. Now, all phones look alike.
Apple has always pushed the boundaries in visual and artistic design. The original iPhone looked nothing like any other phone and took us to where we didn’t know we needed to go. Apple computers have always looked different and pushed the envelope of artistic design. Remember the first iMac with its all-in-one design and wide choice of colors? Apple has always been a triumph of aesthetic form and function. The same can recently be said about the emergence of Hyundai and Kia in the automotive space. It’s more about their design, features and price point than any specific feature they provide. People love their curvy looks and quality fit and finish.
The original iPhone did many things way better than its competitors but also did many things less well. It was the design that really sold the units, especially at the premium prices they were charging. The smooth form with large format and edge to edge glass mirrored the smooth lines of exotic sports cars. Sure people were intrigued by the concepts of apps and the idea of streaming music through their phones but none of these were unique at the time.
Fast forward to today and the marketplace is swimming with phones that all basically look alike. Black rectangular slabs with edge-to-edge glass, powered by fast processors and streaming media of all types. That’s why Apple’s share is dropping. Sure Siri is a step forward but people aren’t looking for function as much as looking and being perceived as special. Why is it that the manufacturer that comes out with the thinnest phone seems to capture an immediate buzz. But that isn’t enough.
What can Apple do? Do what only they seem capable of doing. Turn the world on its ear again. Innovate on form not substance. A few months ago I saw a design mock-up of what someone thought the new iPhone should look like and I fell in love. It wasn’t just me. Many of you thought the same way based on comments throughout the blogosphere.
Unlike the iPad 3 which came out with a nice bump in specs but no real sizzle, the iPad 2 rules. Its lighter, the screen isn’t as sharp or as quick in speed but most people don’t notice the difference; unlike the marked improvement between iPad 1 and 2. That’s why iPad 3 sales haven’t been as strong.
To beat Android, keep improving the OS but also make the form sexy again. Always remember…its love at first sight!